Hayley McLean and Jessica Judd book their spots in finals at British Championships

Jessica Judd on her way to finishing second in her heat in Birmingham

Jessica Judd on her way to finishing second in her heat in Birmingham

First published in Sport by

IT was a case of job done for both Hayley McLean and Jessica Judd as they safely navigated their way through heats at the British Athletics Championships in Birmingham on Saturday.

McLean looked in confident mood as she strolled to victory in her heat of the 400m hurdles while Judd too look assured as she finished second in her 800m heat.

Both now can look ahead with confidence to Sunday’s finals.

McLean - whose winning time of 57.38s was the third quickest of the four 400m hurdles heats behind Britain’s number one and two, Elidh Child and Meghan Beesley – said she felt good and was able to keep some of her powder dry ahead of Sunday’s final.

“I’m extremely happy,” said McLean, who went into her heat with the expectation of knowing she was the fastest athlete on paper. “I was a little bit nervous. Whenever you are the fastest it does put a little bit of pressure on you.

“But at the same time, you also don’t want to race your heat. You don’t want to get complacent but I was quite confident going into the race.”

Southend Standard:

Hayley McLean

McLean, 19, from Stanford-le-Hope, now has a real shot at her first senior medal tomorrow.

Child and Beesley are the clear favourites for gold and silver with McLean likely to be in a straight scrap with her England Commonwealth Games team-mate Ese Okoro for the bronze medal.

“I’m hoping for a good lane draw,” said McLean. “Two years ago (the last time McLean ran the British Championships) I got lane eight!

“But regardless of the lane I’m going to go out there and attack and as long as I do that, whatever the outcome I will be happy.”

Canvey teenager Judd was in control of her 800m heat throughout. Leading the pack for much of the two laps before easing up towards the line and finishing second in 2m 02.02s.

Afterwards the 19-year-old admitted she was just glad to get her heat out of the way.

“It’s a box ticked,” she said. “I always feel rubbish in heats. I struggle to get nervous and I know that if I don’t start right then I find it tough going.

“I have the pressure of being expected to get through and I just find it hard.

“But I have shaken off the rustiness and I know it will be totally different tomorrow. I’ll be so nervous then. I’ll be jumping around like a box of frogs!

“Training has been going really well though and I know I can take confidence from that.”

Judd’s main threats in the final are likely to come from Lynsey Sharp and Jenny Meadows. Last year’s winner, Marilyn Okoro, dropped out of her heat in the closing stages and will not be in the final.

McLean’s final is at 2.22pm on Sunday with Judd’s final at 3.45pm. Both will be shown live on BBC2.

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