Three-time Paralympic medallist OLIVIA BREEN is a woman on a mission, hell-bent on delivering podium success with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham less than two weeks away. 

The 25-year-old, who will compete for Team Wales, already has a remarkable list of achievements on top of her Paralympic medals, having won gold and bronze in the long jump and the 100m, respectively, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast. 

Olivia’s incredible decade of success has also seen the former T38 100m world number two win two golds at the World Para Athletics Championships.

This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 200 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Breen is looking for a podium finish. And after a period of success, as well as selection for Birmingham, the Guildford-born star admitted that she feels more confident ahead of the Games than she ever has been before a major competition.

“Yes, I think it is the most confident I have felt heading into a major competition,”

Olivia was speaking during a four nation photoshoot in Birmingham, which saw athletes from each of the home nations come together for the very first time to celebrate the final countdown to the Games.

“Last year, I had an injury heading into Tokyo, a shoulder injury, and I was a bit hit and miss. 

“This year, I always train hard, but I have trained particularly hard, and my body is in a really good way physically and my mind mentally. So yes, I’m just feeling really good, and I am buzzing ahead of Birmingham. 

“The early competitions were a bit nerve-racking, but it was good to dust off the cobwebs, and you know I’m jumping and running really well, so I hope it goes well on the day.

I definitely think there is a personal best in me, so fingers crossed.” 

The final countdown: Jordan Houlden (Team England diving); Lynsey Speirs (Team Scotland wheelchair basketball); Caroline O’Hanlon (Team Northern Ireland netball); and Olivia Breen (Team Wales para sprint and long jump) line up for the four nations photocall at Birmingham’s centenary square as part of the build up to the Commonwealth Games

Olivia is one of over than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science, and medical support. 

She will be hoping to take home gold in the T38 100m, though she will not compete in the long jump at this year’s event. 

Breen won the first of her to Paralympic medals on home soil at London 2012 after helping Team GB’s women’s 4×100 relay T35-T38 to a third-place finish. 

Then, despite a shoulder injury, she picked up another bronze eight years later in Tokyo after a third-place finish in the long jump T38.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Breen hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

And ahead of her return to the Commonwealth Games stage, Olivia emphasised what it meant to pick up two medals on Australia’s Gold Coast. 

“It’s hard to prepare for a medal defence,”

Olivia was born with a meningitis-type illness leaving her with cerebral palsy.

“You have to be selfish in a way because obviously, you have to think about yourself as it’s your one chance. 

“But yes, I’m really excited. 2018 was incredible, so now I’m just really excited for this one.” 

Breen believes that the support of The National Lottery has been crucial to her progression in para-athletics.

Olivia Breen is hell-bent on delivering podium success for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

She added……

“The National Lottery has been amazing. I have been funded by them for nearly ten years now, and they have really helped my career. 

“Be it with the nutrition, strength and conditioning, my coach, I am really lucky, and I would not be where I am now or achieve the stuff I have without their support.

“I mean, I just said ten years and felt like wow, that’s quite a long time.  It goes by quickly, but I am really grateful for everything they have done. 

“I want to say a massive thank you to National Lottery players.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen HERE and you can get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.

Photo Credit: National Lottery Good Causes.