IT would be easy to assume Eilidh Doyle’s reaction to hearing the Tokyo Olympics was postponed by a year was absolute delight.

After all, the 33-year-old only gave birth to her first son, Campbell, in January, and her target of making Team GB in the summer meant she had little time to get back into elite-athlete shape.

It would have been quite a challenge and so the hurdler could have been forgiven if she had jumped for joy at the news she had an extra 12 months to regain her place in the British team.

However, this was not the case as Doyle had wanted to prove the doubters, who believed Tokyo was going to come just too soon, wrong.

“I had mixed emotions when the Olympics was cancelled but there was definitely a bit of me that was really disappointed,” the three-time Commonwealth medallist said. “I didn’t have any after-effects from the birth so that meant I could get back training quicker than I anticipated.

“I know a lot of people really didn’t expect me to make it to Tokyo and so being on schedule, or even ahead of schedule, that competitive side of me wanted to show I could have got back in time to make the team.”

But after some reflection, Doyle quickly realised the postponement of the Games was in her favour. Lockdown kicked in when baby Campbell was only two months old and so rather than fretting over her progress, she was afforded the time to just enjoy being a new mum.

However, this did not mean she took her foot off the gas. In conjunction with her husband, Brian, who is also her coach, as well as a doctor, physio and pelvic floor specialist, Doyle got stuck into a training programme, with her progress exceeding even her own expectations.

Just before lockdown hit, Doyle ventured back on to a track.

“Getting back on the track was a real moment for me,” she said. “I’d been able to do things before that – go easy runs, do bits and bobs on the reformer – but when I was actually able to run on the track, it felt really weird. It felt like I was in someone else’s body – it definitely didn’t feel like it had before. But it was really nice to be back too.”

Doyle has made her name as a hurdler but if Tokyo had gone ahead as planned, the Perthshire runner was targeting only a spot in the 400m relay squad, knowing an individual spot in the 400m hurdles would be just too much of an ask.

She has now reassessed her goals, with a third Olympic appearance in the 400m hurdles now very much in her sights.

“The target has always been to get back to the hurdles but I’ll also have to see how things go and what kind of shape I’m in,” said Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete. “I don’t want to come back and be in much worse shape, I don’t want to be running 55 seconds, I want to be running 54s.

“Whereas in the 400m flat, I don’t have that same ego. If I can get back in decent shape, I’ll happily go out and be part of the relay team but that’s not my main event so I think there’s a bit more pride with the hurdles. If I do come back, I want to be competitive.”

The arrival of Campbell has changed Doyle’s outlook on the world. Having spent the past decade fully focused on athletics, she now has something far more important in her life. It is, she says, a healthy shift, but squeezing in the level of training needed to force her way back into Team GB while also looking after Campbell, is a challenge she is relishing.

“Everyone says it and it’s so true – your priorities and your perspective on everything changes once you have a baby,” she said. “It’s not that athletics means any less to me, it’s just that something means more to me now. Campbell’s the most important thing in my life now and so before, I’d fit everything around my training whereas now I’ll fit my training around Campbell.

“It’s all about being organised and so when he goes for a nap, I know I can’t sit down and have a cup of tea, I have to get a circuit in. It is tiring but it becomes normal to feel a bit knackered.

“Having Campbell takes a lot of pressure off too. Before, as an athlete, I was quite selfish. Not in a bad way but just because that’s how you need to be – my eating, my sleeping, everything was geared towards my athletics whereas now, it’s not like that.

“It’s made me appreciate my athletics more – things are not as intense now because I know there is life after sport. I’m really enjoying having this balance.”