LEAP OF FAITH
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