Melissa Breen to compete in Stawell Gift

AUSTRALIA'S fastest female sprinter Melissa Breen will compete in the 2014 Australia Post Stawell Gift next month.

Breen declared she was going to take on the men at the Gift, which was officially launched at Olympic Park in Melbourne on Thursday.

If the 23-year-old national 100-metre sprint record-holder makes it through the heats, she will become the first woman to run in the semi-finals.

"I love coming to Stawell and this year I am keen to challenge myself against the men," Breen said.

"Running the Australian record gives me great confidence to try to do something no female has done and that's make the semis."

Breen has enjoyed success at the Gift before - she was the first woman to win the State of Victoria Strickland Family Women's Gift off scratch in 2012.

"Ever since I first ventured to Stawell in 2009, I have been in love with it," she said.

"It is really the only sprinting event shown live on TV and it boasts so many different aspects that ensure huge excitement for the athlete and spectator."

More than 1650 athletes have registered to compete this year - up 100 on last year's Gift.

Stawell Athletic Club president Jeremy Irvine said the influx of athletes proved the 133-year-old event continued to grow.

"The Australia Post Stawell Gift finishes off a strong Gift season across Australia, and we are thrilled to be hosting so many fantastic athletes over the Easter carnival," he said.

The Gift will be run between April 18 and April 21 at Central Park, Stawell.

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