JESSICA Judd has a Commonwealth Games and European Championships double to look forward to this summer – and the Canvey teenager admits she never would have believed that to have been the case several months ago.
The 19-year-old was yesterday confirmed in the Great Britain squad for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August.
She took the third and final place for the 800m at the championships which take place a little over a week after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where Judd will be representing England.
“If you had asked me at Christmas if I would be doing both, I would have said no way,”
said Judd who had nearly three months out with a fractured back over the winter.
“To get to go to both championships is brilliant and I couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone around me.”
Judd is currently the second ranked British 800m runner in the country, with her 1m 59.77s personal best clocking in Oslo, only being bettered by Lynsey Sharp.
But she was made to sweat on her place at the European Championships after finishing fourth at the trials, something she was extremely disappointed with at the time, but has now found an explanation for.
“I went to my doctor after the trials because I wasn’t feeling right,” said Judd. “ I suffer from hayfever and am a mild asthmatic but I had a high fever and I thought I was coming down with something.
“The doctor diagnosed me with a chest infection and put me on antibiotics and, in a funny way, it was a good thing because it explained why I hadn’t run that well.
“I struggled for a while after that in training. My group is not exactly a big one, but I was getting dropped during sessions and I was thinking ‘what’s going on’, I didn’t think it had taken that much out of me.”
Judd had a race against time to get healthy for last Saturday’s Glasgow Grand Prix where she was up against all her main British rivals in what proved to be, effectively, a run-off for the third and final spot in the team.
“The antibiotics were making me feel rubbish, but I came off of them on Tuesday and then it was a push to get ready for Saturday,”
“I knew how important that race was. I knew I had to go and beat the British girls.”
Judd admitted her race was not her best. In fact, the first thing she did afterwards was apologise to her coach Rob Denmark for the way she had executed it.
But she had done exactly what she had needed to do, finishing third overall and the first Briton home, by fractions, in 2m00.01s in what proved to be an almost blanket finish.
“I remember thinking in the last 100m that I have to hold on and be the first British athlete through the line,” she said.
“When I first crossed the line I saw a flash of blonde hair and wondering if that was another British girl and then sitting on the track thinking I could not have done anymore. Then when I heard I had finished third and the first Briton, I was just so happy.”
Judd is back in action on Friday night when she competes in the Diamond League in Monaco as she builds towards the Commonwealth Games, back in Glasgow, in two weeks time.