UPDATED: Jessica Judd and Hayley McLean looking to show their class at British Championships (From Southend Standard)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
UPDATED: Jessica Judd and Hayley McLean looking to show their class at British Championships
JESSICA Judd and Hayley McLean both have points to prove as they head into the British Championships and European Championships trials this weekend.
Judd will race the 800m in Birmingham tomorrow while McLean will compete in the 400m hurdles.
Both athletes have been selected for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and both will be looking to create some happier memories from the national championships.
Judd, 19, picked up an injury in the build up to last year’s championships and despite finishing second and qualifying for the World Championships, it marked the beginning of a troublesome few months for the Canvey teenager as she struggled with injuries.
“It’s definitely a role reversal this year,” said Judd who burst onto the scene last year by winning the European Team Championships and a Diamond League race all before the national championships.
“Last year I started the season with a bang and as good as it was for me, I knew I didn’t want to do that again this year.
“I want to be peaking in July and August when the major championships are on.”
Jess Judd at last year's British Championships
Judd’s start to the season, which she only really got going in the USA at the end of May, may have been not quite as dramatic as last year but she will still go into the championships as the number one ranked 800m runner in the country after her superb 1m 59.77s clocking at the Diamond League in Oslo.
A top-two finish in the final on Sunday will guarantee her a spot at the European Championships in Zurich.
Hurdles star McLean, 19, is ranked third in the country in the 400m hurdles but she expects a real battle between herself and rivals Shona Richards and Ese Okoro for the bronze medal.
The last time McLean competed at the senior national championships, two years ago, she had just failed to make the team for the World Junior Championships and admits she wasn’t in the best of places.
This time round, she comes into the championships on a high having made England’s Commonwealth Games’ team.
“I will be taking it a lot more seriously this year,” said McLean, from Stanford-le-Hope.
“Elidh Child and Meghan Beesley are on top of the rankings, but the three of us below them have a point to prove.
“We are all very close to each other and we will all want to finish on top.”
Basildon AC’s Gemma Kersey will be in the women's 1,500m final after sneaking through by the skin of her teeth after Friday night's heats.
In miserable, wet conditions in Birmingham, Kersey finished fifth in the second heat in 4m 23.58s. With only four runners automatically going through to the final from the two heats, Kersey had an anxious wait before finding out her time made her the fourth and final fastest loser to make it into the final.
Kersey told the Echo last week that she is aiming for a top eight finish in Saturday's final. Meanwhile, Kersey's training partner, Southend AC’s Adam Hickey, will compete in the 5,000m final tomorrow in the penultimate race of the day.