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
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players