After a series of agonising near misses, national record holder Melissa Breen has had a long-overdue change of luck and booked her spot in the women’s 100 metres at the Rio Olympics.
On 10 previous occasions – most recently on Saturday evening when she ran 11.36 seconds – Breen had gone within 0.12 of the Olympic qualifying standard of 11.32.
The 25-year-old finally got the job done in Townsville on Sunday morning, clocking 11.31 to claim her berth in the 100m at a second straight Games.
It means that Rio in August will mark the first Olympics since Sydney in 2000 when Australia has a runner in all four individual sprints.
Josh Clarke (men’s 100m), Alex Hartmann (men’s 200m) and Ella Nelson (women’s 200m) were named in the Australian team at the conclusion of the trials in early April.
“I was obviously shattered to have come so close again last night,” Breen said.
“So to come off a dodgy night’s sleep, get up early and get the job done is something I’m really proud of.
“I would really have struggled if I’d had to head back to Canberra yet again without the time.”
Breen said it was vital that she was able to better the qualifying mark in Australia.
“I was never going to allow myself to go to Europe to chase the qualifier, to stress in that situation again,” she said.
“It’s really difficult to run away from home, and away from your support group under that sort of pressure.
“Now it will be a completely different mindset getting on that plane to Europe knowing I have ticked the box and am already on the team for Rio.”
Sunday’s race was originally scheduled to take place in mid-afternoon, before being moved forward to 9.15am (AEST) when conditions were more favourable with a slight tailwind.
Breen said she lost confidence while struggling with a hamstring tendon injury in the domestic season.
“But my family kept believing in me and my coach Matt Beckenham kept believing in me,” she said.
“And now I’ve got the job done.”