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Jess Judd begins her quest for glory at the World Junior Championships
TEENAGE star Jessica Judd has put the disappointment of not making the Olympic Games behind her to focus on World Junior Championships glory.
The 17-year-old came tantalisingly close to making the Olympic team for the 800m after running the B-standard qualification time and finishing third in the UK trials.
But after fruitlessly searching for a race to run the A-standard time, the Canvey teenager decided to instead concentrate on the World Juniors in Barcelona.
Judd has opted to run both the 800m and 1,500m at the championships and gets her campaign under way this morning in the 800m heats.
“I’m looking forward to going out there and just running as well as I can,” said the King John School sixth-former.
“I have got nothing to lose. I was talking to my coach (Jeremy Freeman) and he said running at the Olympics would probably have been too much for me this year. Not so much physically, but mentally it might have been a bit too early.
“But I think I proved to people at the trials that I should be on that stage. I think a lot of people thought I was too young and should not be there.
“Instead of going out to try to get the A-standard, we decided to focus on the World Juniors and I’m going to go out there and do my best.”
Running both the 800m and 1,500m, Judd has given herself a gruelling schedule.
Her 800m heat is this morning, followed by, hopefully, a semi-final tomorrow and a final on Thursday night.
If she does get through all three rounds of the 800m, she will then have a 1,500m heat the morning after the 800m final with a potential final of the three and three-quarter lap event on the Sunday.
But it is the 800m – an event in which Judd is ranked second in the world for the age group – where her main focus lies.
“It’s going to be hard,” she said. “The whole mindset is to take each race as it comes. The 800m is first and that’s my sole aim at the moment.
“My aim is to just get through the heat and take each race as it comes.”
Judd is the current World Youth Championships bronze medallist and most of the field she raced in that final in Lille last summer will again be up against her this time round.
“I feel I have really come on in the past year,” Judd said. “My times have come down. The winner of the World Youths last year, Ajee Wilson, has run 2m 2.6s this year while I’ve run 2m 1.09s. So I’m happy with that.”
Though she has whittled down her impressive 800m time from last year still further, her 1,500m best is still the one set last year (4m 14.21s) – and Judd says that will have to come down if she is to make the final.
She said: “I think I’m going to have to run a PB to make the final. I have not found the right race this year. My track training is going better than ever and I feel I should be able to go sub 4m 10s. I just hope it all comes together.”
And one thing she is looking forward to most, is pulling on the Great Britain vest once again.
“I have only done it once before and it was a great experience,” she said. “I can’t wait to do it again.”
Judd’s first round of the 800m is at 9.40am this morning (Tuesday).
To find out how she gets on, follow our reporter Ryan Goad on twitter @ryan_goad