Zoey Clark believes the benefits of competing in next month’s world relays in Chorzow will outweigh any risks in travelling to the Polish city.
The Aberdeen AAC 400m specialist, who aims to compete in this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, will be making her second trip to Poland this year, having been a key member of the Great Britain 4x400m relay squad which picked up silver medals behind the Netherlands at the European indoor championships in Torun at the beginning of March.
A Covid outbreak among competitors in Torun led to Clark and the rest of the British team having to self-isolate for 10 days on their return home.
It’s not a situation she would want to repeat at an important stage in her preparations for Japan.
She said: “There was a Covid outbreak after Torun, not just with the British team but with a lot of others as well.
“Fortunately I was fine, but everyone on the team had to self isolate. It was quite worrying.
“I couldn’t leave the house and couldn’t go to the track.
“But I have my gym in the garage so I was more fortunate than others and could do some training.
At the end of another gym block, and now things are going to start moving towards race prep. Happy with my new split jerk pb of 85kg, but I have now officially run out of weights for hip lifts 🙈 #HomeGym pic.twitter.com/eK6AyKnZvX
— Zoey Clark (@_ZoeyClark) April 15, 2021
“It wasn’t too critical as it came at the end of the indoor season when I would have been resetting everything anyway.”
Clark has been kept in the loop regarding changes which have been introduced for the world relays which should reduce the risks.
She said: “I know that before British Athletics committed to sending teams out to the world relays they required a lot of assurances from European Athletics about how things were going to change and be done differently.
“There were many discussions to ensure the procedures have been changed to reflect whatever went wrong at the indoor championships.
“So I know there has been a lot of work done to make it safer and to avoid the same problems happening again.
“There will be stricter testing protocols. There was more mixing at the indoor championships than there should have been, so I think they’ll be stricter about sticking to your bubbles and routines.
“The procedures were OK at the Europeans, but I suppose if there is a positive to take from what happened, it’s that it identified the flaws and so everything should be better this time.
“Everyone will be more on their guard.
“It’s still in my mind that it might be an issue, but I suppose it’s early enough in the season that it wouldn’t be too disruptive if anything went wrong.
“If it was closer to the Olympic trials in late June, I’d be a lot more concerned about it. But at this stage I think the risk is worth taking because, potentially, this might be the only opportunity for us to prepare as a relay team for Tokyo.”
Clark will try to get some racing action before World Relays
Great Britain international Zoey Clark is keeping her fingers crossed that she’ll be able to tune-up for next month’s world relays in Poland by tackling a couple of individual 400m races in the coming weeks.
The Aberdeen AAC sprinter is keen for some competitive action before lining up against many of the world’s top athletes in Chorzow.
She said: “I really hope to get a couple of races under my belt before going to Poland, but everything is up in the air at the moment.
“I know that great efforts are being made to arrange races and it looks likely there will be a 400m for me in Coventry on April 24.
“There’s also an open meeting at Loughborough that weekend, so I could get something there.”
The gradual easing of restrictions will, hopefully, open up more opportunities for Clark once she returns from the world relays and begins her build-up towards the Olympic trials in Manchester at the end of June.
She said: “We are still winging it a bit as far as future competitions are concerned.
“It’s still quite risky to travel abroad regularly for races so there’s a push to increase the amount of domestic opportunities.
“Some 400s are to be held at British Milers Club meetings and there’s to be a few more invitational meetings arranged, although there’s no definite dates for any of these yet.”
In the meantime, she’ll concentrate on training in Aberdeen and is pleased that she can now join up with others for some of her sessions.
She said: “My preparations have been going well, but it has been a big help to be back with my training group again.”
Metro’s Kyle Greig takes role at new athletics charity
Metro Aberdeen Running Club member Kyle Greig is to play a key role in the newly-launched charity, Athletics Trust Scotland.
The Alford-based athlete, who represented Great Britain at the 2017 world ultra trail running championships in Italy, is to be the organisation’s fundraising manager.
Greig has a broad range of experience in athletics, not only as a competitor, but also as a coach and event organiser.
Ian Beattie, who will stand down as chairman of scottishathletics in September after nine years in that role, will lead the panel of trustees for Athletics Trust Scotland.
The trustees also include Eilidh Doyle, Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete, and Paralympian Joanna Butterfield. Adding further expertise are Mark Munro, former CEO of scottishathletics, and entrepreneur Paddy Burns, of 4J Studios.
Beattie said: “We’ve felt for some time that we need to look for other opportunities to generate funding for athletics in Scotland and we’ve discussed at board level a number of opportunities, and the idea of forming a charity came up and has had a bit of traction, over that last year.
“The idea was that we would set up something where people across all areas who have an interest in the different aspects of the sport, can give money to athletics if they want.
“In time, they will see their money being used to develop the sport across a wide range of areas.
“Hopefully this can be an important part of the income generation for athletics in Scotland going forward.”
Athletics Trust Scotland has close ties with scottishathletics, but it is an independent organisation. For details, visit athleticstrustscotland.org.uk