Media about Olympian Clinic and Talent ID Day

Summary Details

Date: Saturday 11th October 2014

Arrive: 1.30pm

Where: AIS track

Cost: Free entry

Register name and age to

Canberra Times writer Lee Gaskin’s article Athletics coach Matt Beckenham searching for Canberra’s next track and field Olympian

Read more:

Quest to find Canberra’s next Olympic track and field athlete

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Olympian Clinic and Local Talent Search
Date: Saturday 11th October 2014
Where: AIS Track, Bruce ACT
Time: 1.30-3pm
Ages:  11+
Cost: Free
Register: Please email with name and age of athlete.

Are you the Next Local Olympian from the Canberra region? MattyB wants to help guide you on this amazing journey!

In 2012 local track and field coach Matt Beckenham proudly watched 3 of his athletes (Lauren Wells, Melissa Breen and Brendan Cole) compete at the Olympic Games and he is now looking to find the next potential local Olympian.

Lauren and Melissa are born and raised local Canberra athletes who have been working in the MattyB DEPT coaching squad since they were just teenagers.
“Lauren was actually in the my first coaching group of athletes. She was raw and not the most talented at the time but she was extremely determined and focused.”
Within a few years under the long term development training plan Lauren began to make some improvements and by 17 she took silver in the 400m Hurdles at the World Youth Championships. She also qualified for the Long Jump and Heptathlon at the same meet.
Another 7 years later and Lauren now boasts multiple national championships as well as representation at numerous Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Olympics.
Lauren highlights the opportunity for athletes to compete in a local Commonwealth Games in 4 years times saying “I was lucky enough to make the Melbourne Commonwealth Games team at age 17 and now is the perfect time for young athletes out there to start training with a focus of making this team to launch their senior careers.”
Melissa Breen at age 24 is another proud product of the MattyB DEPT. who commenced training as a shy 15 year old. She has now become the fastest Australian female ever when breaking the national record on her home track in February this year at the ACT Championships.
“It has been a long and sometimes frustrating journey but thoroughly worthwhile and I know I would not have achieved what I have to this date without joining MattyB when I did.” explained Melissa. “His passion and nurturing style of coaching breeds success in the athletes who are motivated and hungry for success.”
On Saturday 11th October MattyB is running a free open session for ages 11+ which will include a clinic with Lauren and Melissa and also a talent ID component. Athletes are welcome to simply come along and learn from the girls and then showcase their ability in a series of tests.
“I really want to try and unearth the next Lauren and Melissa in the region” Matt states. “The 11th October open day will give athletes a chance to show their natural talent and willingness to want to start a journey that could lead to the 2020 or 2024 Olympic Games.”
“To be honest it is difficult to talent identify because it won’t necessarily be the fastest athlete now that is the most talented athlete as an adult. I have the advantage of knowing more with my experience with the girls so I encourage everyone to come and have some fun at the clinic.”
Athletes will then be offered places in training squads where they will receive coaching to continue their development.
More information available at

2014-15 Season

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The new season is about to start and there are some exciting things happening with MattyB DEPT.

With the MBD senior squad hard at work and taking on the Canberra winter head on everyone has worked well and supported each other to ensure the squad has a huge season ahead. A huge thank you goes to Alex Van Der Meer who put his hand up to take on the role of assistant coach as part of his own development. It has been fantastic to mentor him and I look forward to Alex taking on more a leadership role in the future. It is fantastic to have both Alex and Melissa Breen as assistant coaches and it has really allowed for some growth in the squad. There have been quite a few new recruits which is exciting and brings new energy. AACT interclub will be a major focus so you can expect the squad to be regularly competing in Canberra this season, especially in squad relays. Major events this year will include Queanbeyan Gift (Nov 2014), All Schools (Dec 2014), Canberra Track Classic (Feb 2015), National junior and senior Championships (March 2015).

MattyB DEPT. is also now working more closely with University of Canberra including the use of the gym and also student led clinics. This professional approach enables athletes are able to access physiotherapy, nutrition and psychology services all year round. On top of this we are lucky to have Elite Rehab & Sports Physiotherapy on board to supply discount treatment to the elite athletes and also specific track and field screening to athletes to assist in injury prevention and individual program development.

Melissa Breen has also taken on the role as strength and conditioning coach for the junior squad which is another huge progression in the level of professional services provided to athletes. Athletes are given proper instruction during this critical period of development to ensure they are learning proper lifting technique which will greatly improve their chance of elite performance long term. Dean Redzic continues on as the senior squad strength and conditioning coach with these sessions also taking place at the UCFit gym.

October 2014 will see the commencement of a new development squad for ages 12-16. Interest in the squad is now being taken and it is hoped that several athletes will take up the opportunity to begin a similar journey that Melissa Breen and Lauren Wells took. Both commenced as young teenagers in the squad and were developed right through the MBD pathway to become Olympians. More information here.

The popular mini and junior coaching block sessions will also recommence in the 6 weeks. These sessions will be run by Lauren Wells and introduces children from age 8-13 to fun training that develops basic running skills. Parents or children looking for information can find it here.

Also on the horizon are specialist speed and technique sessions for people of all ages, sports and ability looking to get an advantage over their competitors. More information here

For now though it is back to training and I look forward to seeing you out at the track soon