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Athletics: Aberdeen sprinter Zoey Clark bids for Scottish indoor double

Zoey Clark
Aberdeen sprinter Zoey Clark.

Olympic 400m relay runner Zoey Clark bids for double gold in this Saturday’s 4J Scottish indoor championships at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

The Aberdeen AAC sprinter has signed-up for the 60m and the 200m – which means she faces the possibility of six races inside six hours as each event features a heat, semi-final and final.

It’s a demanding schedule, but one she has coped with many times before.

Clark has won the 60m title on three occasions over the past five years and in 2015 she notched the double by striking gold in the 200m.

She has never returned empty-handed from these championships in her six appearances since 2011.

In addition to her three 60m golds she has also collected two bronze and one silver in this event. Her record in the 200m is two gold and three silver medals.

It’s an impressive tally and few people would bet against her adding to it this weekend.

Zoey Clark competing in last year’s Olympics.

Regardless of how well she performs, Clark has no intention of prolonging her indoor season. Her main targets for 2022 come in the summer

She has three big track and field competitions to aim for over the next eight months.

The world championships are to be held in Oregon from July 15-24, followed by the European championships in Munich from July 28-August 8, then the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, 15-21 August.

She said: “There’s the possibility of a one-off 400m being arranged next week, although that will depend on whether Scottish Government advice allows for races of that length by then.

“Whatever happens, I’m not extending  my indoor season beyond the end of January.”

Clark’s rivals in the 200m on Saturday include her clubmate Rebecca Matheson who finished second in this event when the championships were last held, in January 2020.

Matheson tuned up for the national by setting a 60m personal best of 7.60 in last Sunday’s Aberdeen open graded meeting. That’s the second fastest by a Scot this year behind Clark (7.55).

There’s considerable north-east interest in the women’s 60m hurdles although Birchfield’s three-time previous champion Heather Paton is favourite to lift the title.

Aberdeen AAC’s Catriona Pennet will be striving to add to her considerable medal collection, having picked up six silver and five bronze since 2004.

But gold might still prove elusive for the veteran athlete.

Her clubmate Jane Davidson, who won in 2019, will also be aiming for a podium position while others hoping to make their mark include Erin Williams (Aberdeen AAC) and Cara Davie (Banchory Stonehaven AC).

Banchory Stonehaven’s Claire McGarvey set a personal best 1.78m in the high jump earlier in the month and a repeat of that level of performance, or better, may be required to take a medal in what promises to be a high quality high jump competition.

Aberdeen athletes hope to challenge for podium positions in the under-17 age group championships at the same venue. Rhys Crawford and Aleksandar Jovcic will fancy their chances of securing a podium position in the boys’ 800m while Grace MacDonald and Hannah Taylor should also be prominent in the girls’ race.

Rosie Meyer is a strong bet for gold in the pole vault and Angela McAuslan-Kelly could medal in the shot put.

International selection for city runners

Metro Aberdeen ultra distance runners Chris Richardson, Jason Kelly and Kyle Greig have been selected to represent Scotland in the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k to be held at Perth’s North Inch Park on Sunday April 3.

It’s well-deserved recognition for the north-east trio who could hardly have been ignored after filling all three podium positions at the 2021 race in Ireland.

Gold medallist Richardson and silver-medallist Kelly were making their international debuts that day alongside third-placed Greig who is the most experienced of the three.

Metro Aberdeen runner Jason Kelly.

Richardson’s performance makes him seventh fastest on the Scottish all-time best performers 100k list, while Kelly is ninth. Greig is fifth fastest of all-time with his best of 6:54:42 set when finishing third in the 2019 Anglo Celtic Plate.

And for the second year in a row, Metro will have a fourth representative in the Perth race as Dave Andrews has been selected for the Northern Ireland and Ulster squad. He finished 17th in 2021.

The race doubles up as this year’s Scottish championships and confirmation is expected soon that it will also be the British championship event.

It’s to be held over a 2.381km loop which has been used for previous editions of this event and usually produces fast times.

The course record of 6:44:18 was set by England international Charlie Harpur in 2019.

Performances at Perth will be taken into account when selecting the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for the 100k world championships to be held in Germany later in the year.

The Scottish 50k championships will be held at the same venue on the same day.

Related:

Athletics: High jumper Claire McGarvey wants to keep improving personal best – with Commonwealth Games in her sights

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