WE may only be a couple of months into 2020 but already, Nikki Manson has experienced the full range of emotions already this year.

In the space of just a few weeks, the high jumper has proven just how significant an impact the mental side of things can have on her event, and it is this, she admits, she finds so incredibly frustrating.

At the end of January, with a leap of 1.92m, the 25-year-old broke the long-standing Scottish record, which had been held since 1989 and then just a few weeks later, broke it once again, going one centimetre higher.

However, after heading into the British Indoor Championships last weekend as the favourite, Manson fell well short of her best, finishing in third position with a clearance of 1.84m and it is the fine margins that she finds so infuriating.

“I find high jump so frustrating,” she said.

“A few weeks ago, I felt really good physically - really fast, really powerful, really strong. But it’s so rhythm-based – you can’t push too hard. When you go up a level physically, it takes a long time for your run-up to come together.

“You can’t just go gun to tape, it needs to be a lot more controlled than that. It’s very difficult to jump off a sprint, especially vertically so that’s what I find so frustrating. Every year, I get physically better but it takes a while for it to show."

Manson’s indoor season is now over and as she heads into a block of training ahead of the outdoor season beginning in a few months, she knows how important it is for her to rediscover her best form.

The Glaswegian has qualification for the Olympic Games in her sights, but she is under no illusions as to how tough a challenge making it to Tokyo will be.

The qualification standard for the GB team is 1.96m and while an extra three centimetres over her best-ever is certainly achievable, she knows will have to get everything right on the day to make it.

“I wanted to jump the Olympic standard indoors and I probably put too much pressure on myself to do that,” she said.

"It’s Olympic year so everything has stepped up – I’m fitter and faster because I worked really hard through winter so and all the physical things are really good.”

Manson has been on the verge of big things for a while, finishing in seventh place at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 but it is this year she seems to have taken a real step up.

After spending a number of years coachless, Manson has teamed up with former high-jumper and Scottish internationalist, Ray Bobrownicki, and the fact that he is also a sports psychologist has brought improvements on both fronts for the Giffnock North athlete.

“Ray has really helped me – we’ve looked at pre-performance routines, what I do before I jump so that everything I do is very consistent,” she said.

“I train by myself because there’s not many jumpers in Scotland but I’ve been jumping much better in training -clearing 1.80s consistently so when the bar gets to 1.90m, it doesn’t seem as high to me as it did before."

Manson will formulate a plan for the outdoor season with the single goal of clearing the Olympic standard. Also in the frame for Tokyo 2020 are British Indoor gold and silver medallists, Bethan Partridge and Morgan Lake, and while Manson is hopeful that all three can make it to the Olympics, she is well aware that the pressure of qualification is likely to take much of the fun out of the next few months.

“It’s really difficult when you’re shooting for standards,” she said.

“It is exciting and I personally think all three of us, me Morgan and Bethan can all go to Tokyo which would be amazing. Generally, we don’t have too many women in the team for the Olympics so it would be great to have all three of us there. So hopefully we all get our act together and we all push each other on.”

Manson has the distraction though of her job at the Glasgow Athletics Association to keep her occupied through the stress of Olympic qualification. She works part-time with the organisation and while it can make for quite a hectic time of things, she admits she enjoys getting close to the grassroots of the sport and in fact, the distraction can help her performance.

“I like having something else to concentrate,” she said.

“Sometimes, when you get to a senior, elite level, you can become very narrow-minded and serious and it’s so it’s nice to broaden it out again. There’s a great community there.”