BETH Potter is still pinching herself about the fact she is going to Rio. The 24-year-old Scot secured her spot in Team GB by finishing second among the Brits at the 10,000m Olympic trials in London just under three weeks ago,

It will be maiden Olympic appearance and she admits her achievement still hasn’t sunk in. “I can’t quite believe it,” she said. “I keep dropping in that I’m an Olympian. I’ve always wanted to make the Olympics and it hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m going. I don’t think it will until I’m actually there.”

It is easy to assume that a world-class athlete such as Potter is immune to mid-race nerves but she is adamant this isn’t the case. Only two places in Team GB were up for grabs and with three Brits still in the running in the final laps, Potter, from Glasgow, admits anxiety started to set in.

“I was getting pretty nervous,” she says. “When I was up against Kate [Avery] before, I was dipped on the line so I was really anxious about getting that second spot. With four-and-a-half laps to go, I glanced over at my coach because I was starting to get a bit worried. I was starting to really hurt and I knew that if I made a wrong move then it was all over.”

A 32-minute race gives one plenty of time to contemplate what’s at stake and Potter admits the sacrifices she has made went through her mind.

She is a physics teacher in west London and so has an extremely demanding schedule and admits in addition to her job, there are times when she feels that all she does is eat, sleep and train. It’s a hell of a commitment when there could be no reward at the end of it.

“I get up early so I can train before work and I train in the evening so I get home really late. That was all in my head,” she says. “I knew how many hours I’d spent driving to training and I was thinking to myself, ‘I have to qualify’.

“And all the kids at school were rooting for me – they’ve been asking me all year if I’m going to the Olympics and I’ve had to keep telling them I didn’t know and I didn’t want to go back on the Monday morning and have to tell them that I didn’t do it.”

Potter’s Olympic qualification is just reward for her perseverance. She has had moments when she was close to giving up the sport completely. A phone call to her coach after she finished 18th at the European Under-23 Championships in 2013 particularly sticks in her mind. “I’d been injured going into that season and I ran really badly,” she says. “When I spoke to my coach I was in tears. I just thought, ‘I hate this, why am I doing it?’. I’ve had a couple of times when I’ve really wanted to give up.”

Making the Scottish team for Glasgow 2014 gave Potter a much-needed confidence boost but a disappointing 2015 due to illness brought back the doubts.

It was the rollercoaster of emotions that she has been through over the past few years that led her to break down in tears after securing Olympic qualification. “I found it pretty emotionally draining. I cried because I was just overwhelmed. It was a bit of disbelief and also relief that I’d done it.

“Getting this Olympic spot had made all the hard stuff worth it – this one race has made up for going through all of that.”

Potter will find out on Friday whether she will face any Russian athletes in Rio, when the International Association of Athletics Federations announce whether the current ban will remain for the Olympic Games.

Potter is unequivocal about what she thinks Russia’s fate should be.

“I think the ban should stay in place. Russia is renowned for having so many drugs cheats and it’s just not fair,” she said. “You wouldn’t get away with tax evasion in business so why should you get away with this in sport. There have been Kenyans caught too and obviously Russian and Kenyan athletes are pretty dominant when it comes to middle to long distances so it’s not exactly a great situation.

“It’s not fair and it’s very frustrating. It’s annoying because there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not ideal but all I know is that I want to go to Rio and run well. I’m certainly aiming for a PB.”