CANVEY’S middle-distance star Jessica Judd has had a week to remember.
The 19-year-old ran a personal best 800m time of 1m 59.77s to finish third in the world-famous Bislett Games in Oslo last Wednesday and then five days later had her place at the Commonwealth Games confirmed.
The double dose of delight has come as a major relief to Judd who had the first major setback of her career during the winter when she fractured her back and was out for nearly three months.
And that injury led to fears that she would not make it back to full fitness in time to make the England team for Glasgow.
A frustrating time at the Eugene Diamond League in the USA – where she ran 2m 2.28s (outside the Commonwealth Games standard) after being bumped from the main race and put into the B 800m – made her even more nervous.
But any doubts about her form were blown away in Oslo where she was only beaten by the World Champion Eunice Sum and the World Junior Champion Ajee Wilson.
Now she can look ahead with expectation to her first Commonwealth Games.
“It is a massive sigh of relief,” said Judd. “I’m just so happy.
“I think the (team) decision had been made before Oslo but, for me, it was crucial I ran well there.
“I didn’t want to be picked and people say ‘oh, she has only run 2m 2s this year’. I wanted to prove to people I can run fast and that I deserve a place.
“That’s why I was so disappointed with Eugene. I thought I had thrown it away. I had worked my socks off to get back to fitness and I really didn’t know whether I would be selected or not.
“So it was a relief and I can’t wait now. I came close to making the Olympics two years ago and I didn’t want to miss another major Games in Britain.
“The British crowd has always got right behind me. I always seem to get a huge cheer and I can’t wait to experience that in Glagow.”
Judd’s injury meant her entire indoor season was wiped out also put her on the back foot as she chased qualifying times for both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships this summer.
But, ironically, it may have helped her in the long run.
“I suppose if ever there was a time to get injured, mine was that time,” she said. “I got it right at start of the season.
“And it may help me. Last year I came out with a bang, winning the European Team Championships, running sub two minutes, but then I got injured. I raced the trials for the World Championships, got injured again before the World Championships and then went out in the heat in Moscow. I was so tired by the end of it all.
“I knew that’s not what I wanted this year. It’s totally different. I want to be peaking in July and August when the major championships are on because I don’t want to be happy with just going to big championships anymore, I want to do more than that.”