LEAP OF FAITH

Athletics Weekly - - Action -

SO dis­ap­pointed was she with her per­for­mances at the Rio Par­a­lympic Games last sum­mer, Olivia Breen ad­mits she con­sid­ered step­ping away from the sport. Her de­ter­mi­na­tion to stick with it paid off in Lon­don, as the 20-year-old had the long jump com­pe­ti­tion of her life in front of home fans.

Im­prov­ing on her pre­vi­ous best three dis­tances in the T38 event, Breen first leapt 4.72m in the third round to add two cen­time­tres to her PB be­fore jump­ing 4.81m in the fourth round. She fur­ther con­firmed her fine form with a leap of 4.75m from her fi­nal at­tempt.

“That means so much to me,” said Breen af­ter claim­ing the first in­di­vid­ual global gold of her ca­reer. “I’ve been in the sport now for six years and there have been a lot of ups and downs. I can’t ex­press how I’m feel­ing, it’s just amaz­ing.”

The Euro­pean 100m cham­pion, who formed part of medal-win­ning re­lay teams at both the Lon­don 2012 Games as a 16-year-old and the

2015 world cham­pi­onships, has switched her coach­ing set-up and now trains in Lough­bor­ough un­der As­ton Moore, who also coaches Stef Reid – the T44 win­ner from two days be­fore.

“She is so good to train with,” said Breen, who has cere­bral palsy. “She is so pos­i­tive and I’m a pos­i­tive per­son so we go re­ally well to­gether.”

Aus­tralia’s Erin Cleaver was se­cond with a best of 4.61m.

Also on the fourth day, Rio cham­pion Mikela Ris­toski of Croa­tia gained world T20 long jump gold two years af­ter win­ning the triple jump ti­tle in Doha.

She jumped 5.66m in the event for ath­letes with an in­tel­lec­tual im­pair­ment, with Bri­tain’s Martina Bar­ber just miss­ing out on a medal, her PB 5.17m plac­ing her fourth.

Olivia Breen: cel­e­brates a sen­sa­tional se­ries in the long jump end­ing in gold

Mikela Ris­toski: world long jump gold to go with her Rio Par­a­lympic ti­tle

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