It's time to look for new challenges, says Michaela Breeze
OLYMPIAN Michaela Breeze MBE admitted it is going to be a 'huge wrench' to leave Plymouth this summer, but feels the need for a fresh challenge will help soften the blow.
Breeze will quit her job at Ivybridge Community College after 11 years as a PE teacher and move to South Wales.
The 33-year-old deservedly enjoys a near-legendary reputation in weightlifting – both as a competitor and coach – and her achievements and experience are respected, both locally and internationally.
Breeze was named Wales' Commonwealth Games captain in 2010 in Delhi and she now wants to help lift her adopted country's weightlifting programme to fresh heights.
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The Cornwall-raised athlete, who retired after those games in India, said she is now looking forward to putting 'something back into the sport' which has supported her for so long.
Breeze told Herald Sport: "I just think it's time – both for me to move on and also look for new challenges.
"I've had a really great 11 years at Ivybridge and have loved living in the South West, and it will definitely be a wrench for me to leave.
"I've made a lot of friends down here and, hopefully, will continue to do so.
"But I've got lots of new ideas to go along with the experience that I've picked up competing for Great Britain and that I've picked up over the years.
"I've been successful at coaching and bringing through new talent at Ivybridge and hope to do the same in Wales.
"I've brought through 13 weightlifters to international level in my time here, which include the likes of Helen Jewell, Sonny Webster and young Ryan Baugh.
"Ryan has a big future in weightlifting and although I won't be here, I'm going to be speaking to him regularly, so that he keeps his development on an upward curve.
"And I want to do the same for Wales weightlifing as I've done at Ivybridge and set in place a programme that accommodates different athletes' strengths and improves their weaknesses.
"But it's going to be strange to go but I'm excited by what's ahead."
Between getting to grips with her new career in Wales later this summer, Breeze will be working for GB weightlifting in a technical capacity at the Olympic Games in London.
If it had not been for the back injury which had dogged her over the past three years, then Breeze might even have been fighting for a place in the GB squad in what would have been her third successive Olympics.
Breeze received an MBE in 2011 from another Olympian, Princess Anne, for her services to weightlifting – a testament to an 18-year-career during which she became the first British woman to compete in weightlifting at an Olympic Games (Athens 2004).
She also competed in Beijing four years' later, while also medalling at three Commonwealth Games.
She won gold and silver at Manchester in 2002, competing in the 58kgs body-weight category, and added a gold medal to the list in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. Breeze bowed out of international competition with silver at Delhi in 2010.