Canberra to host a leg of the Australian Athletics Tour in 2015

Australian sprint queen Melissa Breen. Photo: Jeffrey ChanCanberra is home to the fastest woman in Australian history, so it only makes sense the city is back on the Australian Athletics Tour for the first time in five years.
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ACT sprint queen Melissa Breen and London Olympic Games competitor Lauren Boden are set to headline a star-studded local contingent against the best in the country at the Canberra Track Classic on February 7 next year.

Canberra has not been a part of the Australian Athletics Tour since the Australia Cup was disbanded in 2010.

Breen proved exactly how quick the track at the AIS was when she smashed Melinda Gainsford-Taylor’s 20-year-old 100m women’s record, stopping the clock in 11.11 seconds at the ACT championships earlier this year.

Athletics ACT executive officer Ben Offereins said having the Australian Athletics Tour back in Canberra would be a massive boost to the region.

”We’ve felt a little bit neglected over the past couple of years because we haven’t had a tour meet and it’s something we’ve always wanted to get back,” Offereins said.

”It’s a pretty strong athletics community in terms of love of the sport, so it was something they wanted to work towards.

”It’s good we’ve been able to work with Athletics Australia and get a meet back here.”

Offereins has campaigned strongly for the event since he joined Athletics ACT earlier this year.

The 28-year-old moved from Perth to link back up with his former coach, Aaron Holt, as the 400m runner aims to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Offereins won a bronze medal with the men’s 4x400m relay team at the 2009 world titles and won the 400m at the Australia Cup in Canberra.

He is hoping to compete at the Canberra Track Classic, joining the likes of Breen, Boden and Paralyampic gold medallist Evan O’Hanlon.

”We’ve got a lot of athletes we want to showcase to the community,” Offereins said.

”It will be a good opportunity for the people of Canberra to see the Canberra athletes compete against Australia’s best.

”One thing that’s known around Australia is that Canberra is a fast track.

”It’s something even athletes outside of Canberra have been calling for because of how fast it is, and Mel proved that this year.”

The Canberra Track Classic is one of nine stops on the 2014-15 Australian Athletics Tour.

The season will finish in Brisbane, with the national championships to be held in Queensland from March 26-29, the first time in the state since 2009.

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