Zoey Clark hopes this summer’s European Championships can be the springboard for her to win individual medals at international events.
The Aberdeen 400m runner has had a busy 2018 but her focus is now on the next big event: the European Championships in Berlin in August.
The Tokyo Olympics are more than two years away but already the event is starting to dominate Clark’s thoughts. She hopes to be heading to the Japanese capital in 2020 with a realistic chance to claim a medal.
So far in her career the 23-year-old has won a silver medal at the World Championships outdoors and a bronze at the World Indoors but both of these have come in the 4x400m relay. Clark hopes the European Championships can be the first step to claiming individual medals at the major international events.
She said: “It (the Olympics) is coming quickly already but we work in Olympic cycles so that is the major goal and we’ve got other, little goals before then. But the Europeans is important on the journey because it is two years from the Olympics.
“My success so far has mostly been dominated by relays but Europeans is that nice stepping stone where I can maybe break through as an individual and stake my claim in individual events.
“Individual success is what you want to aim for but the relay is great because it can give you success before you have reached that level individually.
“For an athlete, it is always about trying to get individual medals.”
Clark also believes next year’s World Championships in Doha will be important because it will allow her to test herself against the best on the planet before Tokyo.
With every major event Clark competes in, she gains more experience and she believes that is important because the 400m is an event that can take many years to master.
She added: “I think the World Championships next year will be really important.
“I went to the ones in 2017 but hopefully next year I’ll have progressed a bit more so that it will be a trial run for the Olympics, to see how I’m faring against the other athletes.
“I hope I can be in with the top runners.
“I’ve been one for gradual development – over the last five years I’ve progressed a similar amount each time and haven’t had a massive spike. If I can keep that progression going, I think I could be up there.
“With the 400m, being experienced does help because it takes years to work out how to run it and I’m still young.”