World Championships 2013: Jessica Judd faces track test as tough as her A-levels

The world's best will examine recent strides made by Britain's middle-distance rookie

Thursday is a big day in more ways than one for Jessica Judd. At about seven o'clock UK time, she will line up in her heat of the 800 metres in Moscow. A little later her mother will drive to her school to pick up an envelope bearing Judd's A-level results.

The letter will stay unopened for a few days – her parents ordered not to look at her results until she returns from the first major championships of the 18-year-old's fledgling but already high-flying career.

The results she wants to see once back home are A, A, B, which would be sufficient to take up a place to read biochemistry at the University of Bath. But that is not currently her focus; the results have been put to the back of her mind as she takes on the world's best middle-distance runners.

"For the past year, my school work and my training have been totally separate," she said. "It's been a matter of doing all my classes in the day and then in the evening it's training. I'm able to separate the two. I don't think about my running when I'm doing my studies and I don't think about my studies when I'm running. Because of that, I can just switch off and so I don't think I'll be thinking about my results. I'll probably be too nervous about my race anyway."

She has described it as "either a really happy journey home or a really sad one", which could work on both levels bearing in mind her exam results and how things go in Russia.

The reality is that there should not be any World Championship expectation on the teenager, a virtual unknown in British sporting circles who has burst on to the scene in a big way in 2013, winning the European Team Championships and then the Diamond League in Birmingham, no mean feat in a discipline normally dominated by older, more experienced athletes.

Today's will be her first race since the trials, when she looked tired, unable to keep up with race winner Marilyn Okoro. It since transpires Judd had picked up a calf injury, which meant she was off her best in Birmingham and missed the Anniversary Games in London.

Such is her mindset, she sees the injury as a positive, although admitted she could not bear to watch the Anniversary Games after being denied a second chance to compete at the Olympic Stadium – the previous year she had failed to earn selection for the Olympic team.

"I'm back to full fitness now and things are going really well," she said. "In hindsight, it probably made me stronger. It probably means I've got here with 100 per cent fitness, so [missing the Anniversary Games] is something you just have to take on the chin and get on with it. It was probably for the best."

Few people at the start of the year expected Judd to feature at the World Championships, not least the athlete herself, who had made the European Juniors her No 1 target for 2013. But as the results improved, so did the stage she was competing on.

"It's been a surreal year: finishing my A levels, running in the Diamond League, having an injury and having to do rehab and then going to the Worlds," she said. As for her Moscow ambitions, she added: "As long as I go there and give 100 per cent and know that I couldn't have done any more, then I'll be really proud of myself. If I can look back and say I left nothing on the track then I'll be really happy.

"Anything can happen in the World Championships but it's my first time and I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself. I'm just going to go out there and enjoy it and try to run as well as I can. I want to get out of the heats and make it to the semi-finals, and the bigger bonus would be to make the final. I'm hoping I'll do myself proud."

The final is not beyond the realms of possibility. Her rivals are generally faster and more race-smart but Judd runs with a carefree attitude, or has done to date, which should hold her in good stead. The final might be a long shot but, on this season's form, it is not an impossibility. Should she get there, it would be worthy of an A star.

Suggested Topics
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence