KAYLEE Dodd woke up on the morning of one of the biggest days of her athletics career so far fearing the worst.
The 16-year-old, from Wickford, had been feeling run-down all week and was worried it would damage her chances of running well in the Olympic Stadium.
But those fears proved totally unfounded as, despite nursing a cold, Dodd stormed to a silver medal in the 800m in a time of 2m 9.62s.
And the Basildon AC teenager is convinced had the race been a fraction longer she would have taken gold.
“I was catching up the winner in the home straight and if the line had been a little bit further away I’m sure I would have got there,” said Dodd.
“I was so pleased though because I was really worried in the morning.
“I had been feeling ill all week and it was tough. You just want to be in your own bed when you are feeling ill, but we were staying away with the team and attending events when I just wanted to be asleep!
“I kept texting my mum worrying and it was so good to see my parents, grandparents and coach in the stadium beforehand. I wasn’t sure I’d find them or be allowed to see them, but seeing them really helped me.”
Dodd had also been worried about her form over 800m going into the race.
The current English Schools Champion over the distance had only run the two-lap event twice this season.
The first she was disappointed with, while the second – a 2m 12s finish in Watford – hinted at a return to her best form.
“I said to my dad after Watford that if I ran 2m 10s or 2m 11s in the Olympic Stadium I’d be happy, so to run 2m 9s is amazing. I’m so happy,” she said.
And that time points to another fantastic season for Dodd, who revealed last week that her training was still being all geared towards the big championships in August.
“To run that time this early in the season was really pleasing,” she said. “I’m not 100 yet so that gives me lots of encouragement.”
And Dodd also left the Olympic Stadium vowing to be on the start line of the sport’s biggest events plenty more times in the future.
“Definitely,” she said. “I loved running in the stadium. There was schoolchildren all down the back straight cheering you on and it felt amazing.
“And beforehand I was stopped by a little child with his mum because I was wearing my England jumper and they asked for my autograph. It was a great feeling and definitely something I could get used to! It just makes me want to keep doing it.”