Lauren Wells wins Athletics Australia Flame athlete of the year


The MattyB DEPT. would like to congratulate and proudly recognise the recent award Lauren Wells received at the Athletics Australia awards night.

Lauren was awarded “The Flame” athlete of the year which is a reward for her passion to the sport, supportive nature to all her team members and outstanding consistency and involvement in the national senior team for multiple years.
After making her first senior team at age 17 for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Lauren has not missed a national team for the past 5 years which includes two more Commonwealth Games, 2 x World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games team.
Lauren has also claimed 7 national titles during her career and it focused on a big 2015 before the focus again shifts towards the Olympic Games in 2016.
She is a fantastic role model for the sport and we are proud to have Lauren as a member of the MattyB DEPT. as both a senior elite athlete and coach of the junior and mini FIT4FUN squads.
  • 2005 World Youth Silver Medal – 400m Hurdles / Final Long Jump
  • 2006 Commonwealth Games – 400m Hurdles (age 17)
  • 2006 World Juniors semi final – 400m Hurdles
  • 2006 World Cup Oceania representative – 400m Hurdles
  • 2007 World University Games Final – Long Jump (6.40m) / 400m Hurdles
  • 2009 World University Games Final – 400m Hurdles
  • 2010 Continental Cup Oceania representative – 400m Hurdles / 4 x 400m
  • 2010 Commonwealth Games 4th – 400m Hurdles / 4 x 400m
  • 2011 World Championships semi final – 400m Hurdles / 4 x 400m
  • 2012 Olympic Games semi final – 400m Hurdles
  • 2013 World Championships semi final – 400m Hurdles
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games 4th 400m Hurdles / 4 x 400m
  • 2014 Continental Cup representative 400m Hurdles / 4 x 400m
More information on Lauren can be found at

Telstra Queanbeyan Gift Entries now open – Close 5th Nov

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The Telstra Queanbeyan Gift (22nd – 23rd November 2014) is less than one month away and entries are now open.

This is the richest women’s Gift in Australia with a total of $18,000 up for grabs which is 3 times more than the Women’s Stawell Gift. The Men’s Gift also has $18,000 up for grabs.

Superstars Silas Moss and Dave Robertson will be trackside all weekend commentating so it is sure to be highly entertaining.

If you have represented Australia in the past 2 years on a senior team you may be entitled to free registration with the NSWAL so you only pay the entry fees for events you enter. Please contact Andrew at who will give you more details.

Here is you chance to pick up some good money at the start of the season.

With the handicap limit set at 12m in the Men’s and Women’s 120 Gifts this will ensure that if you are in good shape you will have a chance.

First step –
Complete membership of the NSWAL at
Second step –
Once you have done this you can enter the Queanbeyan Gift at…

Entries close on 5th November so get your entries in now.

For more information like program, discount accommodation options etc. please check out

Hope to see you all there on 22-23rd November 2014.

You know you want one of those Happy Gilmore cheques!


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


Breen form continues in Japan (Video)

Commonwealth B qualifier for Melissa Breen in the 200m at Shizuoka

After running her 5th fastest 100m ever in Hiroshima 23 year old Melissa Breen has again shown great international form at the Shizuoka Meeting this time over the 200m distance.

Competing against 2011 400m World Champion Amantle Montsho (23.06), Breen finished second in time of 23.37 (1.8w) which is also a Commonwealth Games B standard for the event.

Video of 200m Final: 

“To be honest I am shocked and excited to run that fast considering I have done very little 200m work and I had to run two in a few hours.” Breen also stated that “to improve that much (1 second) since running the 200m at nationals shows the benefit of the recent training block I have been doing.”

This is her third fastest 200m result ever and came after running an quick 23.27 in the heat 3 hours earlier which was unfortunately wind aided.

Video of 200m Heat:  

In other great news for female sprinting 20 year old Victorian Ashleigh Whittaker, who was runner up in the 200m at the recent National Championships behind Ella Nelson, also claimed the Commonwealth Games B standard with a time of 23.40 in the heats. She placed third in the final behind Montshoo and Breen in a time of 23.47.

The next competition will be at Mito on the 6th where Breen will go back to her preferred distance of 100m. She will then compete at the Tokyo World Challenge event on the 11th May.

End of Release