ZOEY CLARK is prepared to push her body to the limit to earn an Olympic debut in Tokyo next summer, even though the focus is turning the Aberdonian’s brain to mush.

The world and European medallist is primed for 4x400 mixed relay duty when the European Team Championships begin in Bydgoszcz tonight, which is another stepping stone towards a tilt at this year’s worlds in Doha when GB&NI’s women will look to continue their string of podiums.

Since earning a first-class engineering degree last summer, it’s been athletics and nothing else for Clark, which has been good for preparation but tough on the spirit.

“It’s difficult to take anything on when you’re away for long periods of time. I admit I’m struggling with that," she said. "My degree at university was really full on. I’m not used to having free time and that’s been hard this year. There are always things you can fill your time with, like school visits or trips that pop up out of nowhere. So I’m not un-busy. But I do miss keeping my brain more active.

“I definitely want to find something because I think I function better when I have a split focus so that when things get stressful, I can switch off.”

With old hand Eilidh Doyle now absent due to pregnancy, Clark will lead the new one-lap guard in Poland with relay chief Stephen Maguire using the event as a test bed.

With the British trials looming, the 24-year-old is seeking an uplift in her individual performances following a tough indoor campaign where she suffered due to inexperience. She learned some hard lessons but useful ones.

"You can’t just rely on fitness," she said. "That was inexperience and if I want to seriously do indoors again, I need to give myself exposure to more situations.”

Which will stand her in good stead for the race to Japan where world rankings will now factor in the selection equation laid out this week by British Athletics.

That means quick times must be secured and high-quality races found, while Clark and her coach Eddie McKenna have to navigate the balance between finding form for the worlds in October and sailing smoothly into 2020.

“This is a really strange year,” she said. “I did indoors and then went to Japan for World Relays. It’s been difficult to fit everything in and it’s thrown me out of my natural rhythm. But although this year is important, it’s all about the longer term and 2020. The main focus is on Tokyo. I want to be ranked well going into next year but it’s not all about this moment.

“It is going to be difficult but everyone’s in the same situation. Last year was strange also because you had Commonwealth Games in April. Having that back-to-back is difficult to manage but you hope you balance it.”

Fellow Aberdonian Alisha Rees was yesterday given a late call-up to make her senior debut in the 4x100m relay this weekend. Fellow Scot Kirsty Law competes in the discus on the opening evening for the British team which will be captained by Harry Aikines-Aryeete.