Zoey Clark wants to lead Great Britain to gold medal joy in this weekend’s European indoor track and field championships at Torun, Poland.
The Aberdeen AAC runner is one of the most experienced members of the six-strong women’s 4x400m relay squad which also includes fellow Scot Beth Dobbin.
Clark was part of the GB quartet which picked up silver behind Poland at the previous championships in Glasgow two years ago and hopes to at least emulate that result on this occasion.
The host nation are bidding to complete a hat-trick of victories, while GB hope to win for the first time since 2013, having finished runners-up at each of the subsequent three championships.
Clark said: “It’s a straight final, no heats, with six countries taking part and there are some good teams in there.
“Poland and the Netherlands will be very strong, so I think it will be close. It’s certainly not clear cut, which makes it exciting.
“It will depend on how everyone performs on the day, but I feel it’s there for the taking so we’ll do our best and see what happens.”
Clark could be forgiven for being disappointed not to be taking part in the individual 400m as well as the relay. She currently tops the GB rankings with her Scottish native record time of 52.03.
That’s the seventh fastest time by a European this year, but a below-par performance in the national trials at Manchester a fortnight ago resulted in her being picked only for the relay.
She said: “I didn’t feel right at Manchester and it took a few days to pick up from that, but I’m ready to run again.
“I’m happy to cheer the other girls on in the individual 400m and I’m excited about the relay as it has been so long since I’ve done an international race.
“I’m more than content to focus on the relay and hopefully run a good leg.”
Clark has extensive experience of championship relay running. Aside from her Euro indoor medal from 2019, she also pocketed a world indoor bronze in 2018.
Outdoors, she has a silver from the 2017 world championships and bronze from the 2018 European championships.
She hasn’t previously lined up with most of her team-mates this weekend, but doesn’t believe that’s an issue.
Clark said: “I think the only one I’ve done a relay with before is Jodie (Williams), but it’s exciting to have new faces. We’ll have a couple of days to practise handovers before the race on Sunday, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
“Our coaches will decide on the running order, but on an indoor track it’s important to get a good start as it’s so much harder trying to overtake people on the tight bends. It might be a case of putting a 200m specialist out on the first leg.”
Clark set for tortuous return journey from Poland
Aberdeen AAC’s Zoey Clark hopes a medal-winning performance at this weekend’s European indoor championships will make her trip home more bearable.
The Great Britain 4x400m relay international faces a tortuous return journey from Torun in north central Poland back to Aberdeen.
She said: “I’m not looking forward to it at all. My race is on Sunday evening and my flight from Warsaw to London is at 6am or 7am on Monday morning.
“Obviously I have to be at the airport before that time and it’s a three-hour drive from Torun to Warsaw. So, I’ll probably not get any sleep.
“Then I’ve got something like an eight-hour stopover in London before catching a flight up to Aberdeen.
“Thankfully the journey over wasn’t so bad. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to do that before the competition.”
If Clark is successful in helping Great Britain strike gold in the relay, she will join an exclusive club of just 10 Scots to have won European indoor titles in the 55-year history of the championships.
Among them are brothers Ian and Peter Stewart, both of whom represented Aberdeen AAC in the Edinburgh to Glasgow road relay in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Both men won the European indoor 3,000m title, Peter in 1971 and Ian four years later – just a week before he struck gold in the world cross-country championships.
However, the most successful Scot at the Euro indoors is Laura Muir who is a quadruple gold medallist.
The Dundee Hawkhill runner won the 1500m and 3,000m at both the 2017 and 2019 championships, but is giving this year’s event a miss in order to concentrate on her preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games.