Team Wales Will Drive Me On

Olivia Breen is a Welsh Para-athlete competing in the T38 100m in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. You can follow Olivia on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

I’m off to my third Commonwealth Games this summer and I can’t wait. I won gold and bronze in the Gold Coast in 2018, two years after connecting with a new coach, Aston Moore, and relocating to Loughborough.

I have also competed at two Paralympic Games – London 2012 and Rio 2016. My main events are the T38 100m and the long jump, but only the 100m is on the schedule for Birmingham. I will be trying to better the bronze medal that I won in 2018 in this event.

My main memory of Gold Coast 2018 was the incredible atmosphere within Team Wales. We’re a small but very proud nation and we all support each other. You meet people from all sorts of different sports which is amazing. I am just so honoured to compete for Wales.

I was brought up in Guildford but my mum is from Wales, which is why I will be wearing the Welsh dragon to race.

My background in athletics, like most sportspeople, started with my family. I have a twin brother, Dan, who loved athletics, so it was the most natural thing in the world to try and match what he was doing – and better it! My dad was a sprinter of a very good standard – his personal best was 10.9 seconds. He was also a rugby player and I’m sure he passed on his sporty genes to me and Dan.

I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at two, and I didn’t start walking until I was three – at which point I decided to ditch the walking and run everywhere. I loved athletics and I loved sport.

I always enjoyed trying lots of different sports – mainly tap dancing, horse riding and trampolining. When I was 13, I joined City of Portsmouth Athletics Club.

It wasn’t until we attended a disability sport talent day in 2011 that I saw someone with the same disability as me.

My eyes were opened to disability sport and I thought it was just amazing.

The athletics and para-athletics take place in the second half of the Games, between 2 and 7 August, in the Alexander Stadium in the north of Birmingham. It’s fantastic that the Commonwealth Games integrates para-sport, so we compete alongside the able-bodied events.

If I can, I’d love to get out and watch other Commonwealth Games events if I can – I’d really like to see Rugby 7s and gymnastics.