Athletics: Clark aims to cap busy year with a tilt at medals and a big title defence

Zoey Clark in action at the Gold Coast Games.
Zoey Clark in action at the Gold Coast Games.

Aberdeen athlete Zoey Clark has set her sights on defending her British 400m title and contending for a medal at the European Championships.

The 23-year-old has had a hectic start to 2018, having won a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham in March.

Then last month Clark was on Australia’s Gold Coast competing in the Commonwealth Games, where she helped Team Scotland to set a new national record as they finished sixth in the 4x400m.

Even though she has had a great start to the year, Clark is already looking for more glory.

She is aiming to defend her British title at the championships in Birmingham at the end of June and also hopes to reach the final and contend for a medal at the European Championships in August in Berlin.

She said: “Qualification for the Europeans is for the top two at the British Championships, but I will definitely be going there looking to defend my title.

“The season is going to be tailored towards the Europeans from now.

“I have already got the standard and now I’m looking to peak for August.

“The ambition is definitely to get to the final and if I run the perfect race I could be in contention for a medal. “So that’s what I have to go there and try to do.

“But 2018 has been really good so far. On the Gold Coast I ran really close to my personal best, I got a world indoor medal and there’s still the European Championships as well, so 2018 has been positive so far.”

Reflecting on her experience at the Commonwealth Games last month, where she just missed out on the 400m final, Clark added: “I really enjoyed the whole experience.

“It was my second Commonwealth Games and I definitely enjoyed this one a lot more.

“Going into it I knew how I had to approach the whole competition.

“The result is kind of bittersweet because I think I performed well and in any other Commonwealth Games I would have got to the final.

“That’s what I was hoping to achieve, but the standard was better than it has been so I didn’t get to the final and that stings a little bit.

“But overall, I can’t be disappointed with how I ran.”

The games brought a unique challenge because athletes do not usually aim to peak in April and for Clark the event followed the World Indoor Championships, meaning she had two of the biggest competitions within a month of each other.

She said: “It’s so bizarre to have to run fast in April and it meant our whole training programme had to be changed. The rest of my season has been effected by that.

“It’s been a learning curve for both me and my coach Eddie McKenna, but I think we did it as well as we could.”