Saturday, 08 July 2017 09:33

Anniversary Games - Jessica Judd's London 2017 dream came through

Written by Connor Craig-Jackson
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Labouring down the back straight in eighth at the 2016 British Championships, a place in the London World Championships the very next year seemed almost unfathomable for a deflated Jessica Judd.

The now 22-year-old was dubbed a teenage prodigy in her early years, but suffered a tough period on the track following a 2014 Commonwealth Games campaign that ended in tears after she just missed out on a medal.

This year, however, Judd has come storming back, going against all expectations, including hers, with a silver in the British Championships booking a long-awaited place at the World Championships.

“I’m so happy about London,” says Judd, “me and my dad cried a bit (after the British Championships) because it means so much, people have stuck by me through the absolutely terrible times and I think it’s just testament to my dad for telling me to keep going.

“I knew I was going to eventually race myself to fitness but I didn’t realise I’d make the worlds and everyone at Loughborough has really rallied behind me so it’s been fantastic.”

It has been an undeniably tumultuous period for Judd since moving to Loughborough University in 2014 with plenty of domestic and universities titles but also a null period on the top stage.

The Human Biology student is now part of a very close-knit family set up in Loughborough, coached along with her sister by her father in a close-knit family training group, which Judd has been quick to praise.

“It’s really great,” says Judd, “my dad puts a lot of time into every one of us. I met my boyfriend Rob Warner at Loughborough as well and he’s also trained by my dad so that’s great for him; he’s got a 5k PB and his 1500’s going down this year as well.”

“We all learn off each other and we’re all there for all the disappointments to pick each other up so although it’s a really small group we all work really well together.”

Due to her up and down few years 2017 was very much a stab in the dark for Judd, taking on all sorts of different distances on the track to once again open the door to the world stage.

And while the 1500m proved to hold the key to the world championships, the British Universities champion is still keen to carry on mixing it up on the track, with a 5000m at the World Universities final firmly on the horizon

“We said before the season to do either 800, 1500 or 5000,” said Judd, “so the 1500m happened to be the best one but it also happened to be the best for everyone else as well.

“But I think I’d like to work on my 800 now just to get a bit of sharpness for the worlds and then leave enough endurance for the 5000 in China.”

This weekend at the Anniversary Games sees the perfect opportunity for Judd to do so, now having the freedom she didn’t have at previous games to focus solely on her own running.

Now with the weight of the world lifted off her shoulders, Judd is also relishing the chance to soak in the always rapturous Anniversary Games atmosphere and build up what could prove to be some vital pre-World Championships momentum. “(The London Crowd) is absolutely unbelievable,” says Judd “I missed out in 2012 (Olympics) and me and my dad said back then it ‘doesn’t matter we’ve got the worlds’. But that’s five years later and you never know what’s going to happen in five years so to go there now is just fantastic.”

“I honestly didn’t think I’d make it (to the worlds) so I think now I’ve just got to really dig in and try and be as competitive as I can. I like the fact that I can race and I think that’s really good for me; I’m a racer and even though it hurts like hell at the time I absolutely love it, so that’s something that I can just build off.”

Whatever the outcome proves to be for Jessica Judd in London, the very fact that she has made it there could be a sure sign that she is back where she needs to be in her still very young athletics career.

Playlist of races from British Athletics Championships 2017



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