Zoey Clark’s Olympic fate will be sealed today when Great Britain’s selectors meet to finalise the track and field team for Tokyo.
The Aberdeen AAC sprinter’s hopes for a place in the 4x400m relay squad hang in the balance after she finished sixth in the individual 400m at the British championships and Olympic trials in Manchester on Saturday.
Jodie Williams (Herts Phoenix) powered to victory in 51.02secs with California-based Scottish athlete Nicole Yeargin (Pitreavie AC), competing in the UK for the first time,finishing second in 51.26. Both have secured automatic selection for the individual 400m.
Third-placed Ama Pipi (Enfield), who clocked 51.33, was also inside the qualifying standard of 51.35 and seems certain to be given the third available slot.
Clark’s time of 52.00 was a little outside her season’s best of 51.79 and she must now wait to learn if she will be picked for the relay when the team is announced tomorrow.
The selection criteria are complex with British Athletics stating that a total of five women can be named, including the three picked for the individual events. Two women can also be named for the mixed relay which appears on the Olympic programme for the first time.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that athletes selected for other events, such as the 400m hurdles, may also be added to the relay squad.
In Clark’s favour is her superb record when competing for the Great Britain relay team at world and European championships over the past four years, when she has picked up silver and bronze medals.
She said: “I am disappointed with the result but I always knew it was going to be tough. There has never in history been so many girls sub-52sec in one season so it was always going to be a big ask.
“I had to stake my claim on the race and really go for it. I was trying to put myself in with a shot of individual selection.
“It’s fine margins in 400m running and unfortunately I didn’t get the pacing quite right which meant I just didn’t have enough fight at the end.
“I will just have to wait to find out. It is now out of my hands.”
Kirsty Law (Inverness Harriers), British discus champion for the previous two years, chose the worst possible occasion to have an off-day,finishing fourth with a best throw of 52.73m which is her shortest of the year and well adrift of the Olympic qualifying mark.