Matt Beckenham takes off for Australian track stars

Queanbeyan's former Olympic sprinter Matthew Beckenham during his 400 metre hurdle competition days. Photo: Peter Gleeson.

Queanbeyan's former Olympic sprinter Matthew Beckenham during his 400 metre hurdle competition days. Photo: Peter Gleeson.

Former Queanbeyan Olympic racer and now Australian athletics coach Matthew Beckenham prepared some of Australia's best sprinters in Glasgow this year.

Beckenham is best known for his efforts in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, being the only Olympian from Queanbeyan, and raced professionally from 1997-2005.

He has also won the annual Queanbeyan Gift race four times since 2004.

Since 2002 he has worked as an athletics coach, and has established his own athletics coaching business called Matty B Department, and at the moment he is responsible for training Canberra elite athletes Brendan Cole, Lauren Wells and Melissa Breen.

"I've had athletes going for the last 10 years now [in competition]," he said.

He led each of Cole, Wells and Breen to their Commonwealth Games debut at the Delhi instalment in 2010, with Cole taking gold in the Australian men's 4x400 metre relay race, Breen finishing fifth in her 100 metre semi-final, and Wells finished fourth in the 400 metre hurdles final.

And being from Queanbeyan, he has also brought Wells and Breen on board to be ambassadors of the Queanbeyan Gift carnival, which they will do again this year.

Wells said she enjoyed being under the tuition of Beckenham.

"We decided to stay at home [at the AIS in Canberra] this year and do most of our preparation here," she said.

"In past years leading up to major tournaments I've run fast as soon as I've landed overseas, but have been under pressure to maintain that, so this year Matt eased us into it a bit more."

Beckenham said in the past he had used the Queanbeyan Gift as training for his Commonwealth Games and Olympic athletes, and that the next two events would lead in to RIO 2016 nicely.

"It allows the local Queanbeyan people to come down and watch some Olympians," he said.

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