Zoey Clark may not have ended up on the podium at the world relays in Poland at the weekend, but the Aberdeen AAC sprinter performed well and picked up valuable experience, which will stand her in good stead in the countdown towards the Tokyo Olympic Games.
That’s the view of her coach, Eddie McKenna, who was impressed by the way the 26-year-old handled herself in two contrasting 4x400m races at the empty Silesia stadium.
Clark firstly helped the Great Britain side navigate through the heats of the women’s relay, but sat out the final in which the team finished third behind Cuba and Poland.
The Aberdeen athlete’s talents were instead diverted into the mixed relay in which she lined-up with Lee Thompson, Yasmin Liverpool and Rabah Yousif, taking fifth position behind winners Italy.
McKenna said: “I was slightly disappointed she didn’t get to run in the women’s final but, over the piece, the weekend provided another opportunity to garner very useful international experience ahead of Tokyo.
“As ever, she was the consummate professional and acquitted herself extremely well.
“She ran strongly in the final of the mixed relay, although her split time was slower than she achieved the previous day in the women’s event.
“But it was a different type of race and it was very cold so everyone’s times were slower than expected on her leg.
“Zoey’s performance highlighted a couple of things we might not have seen if she hadn’t had this competition.
“There’s still a gap that needs to be plugged in respect of her speed endurance over the final 20 or 30 metres.
“We knew that was the case anyway, but it was useful to see it in a high level international competition.
“It’s something we need to work on and we know what we have to do. We are pretty relaxed about it.
“She’d recognise she maybe has to work on some pacing issues, but that’s understandable given how few races she’s had over the past 18 months.
“But it was good for her to be there as this will be the last chance to run at this level before the Olympic Games.
“And once again she showed her consistency. Every time she has represented Great Britain in the 4x400m relay at world and European level, she has reached a final and has regularly come away with a medal.”
McKenna points out that there’s eight weeks to go until the British Olympic trials and expects Clark to be even sharper by then.
He said: “Her main target now is to be well prepared for the end of June.
“There are no certainties in sport, so we need to keep the focus on that.
“Zoey’s priorities are to be selected for the individual 400m and for the women’s 4x400m relay.
“She has a few race options before the trials and we’ll sit down now and decide which of these to do.”