Athletics - Judd eyes success at European Team Championships

By the end of the week Jessica Judd would have taken more than one test and she's determined to have passed all with flying colours in what is fast turning out to be a year to celebrate.

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Jessica Judd in action during the Women's 3000m final (PA Photos)

The 18-year-old is currently the fastest female 800m runner in Britain having lowered her personal best set last year on the way to world junior silver to 2:00.37minutes at the first attempt this season.

That has led to Judd earning, by her own admission, a surprise call up for Britain for the European Team Championships at the weekend however there have been pressing matters before then.

She will just have completed her final A-level exams prior to heading to Gateshead with athletics quickly taking over from school as she sacrifices her leavers' ball at the King John School to run.

But, when the season is all done and dusted like her exams, Judd wants to have to plenty to celebrate including European Junior and possible World Championship selection having just been confirmed for the former.

"I am happy with how my exams have gone and last Wednesday I had to race after a chemistry exam. My leavers' ball is Friday but I will have to celebrate at another time," said Judd.

"It is amazing to be selected for the European Cup and I am really excited to be part of the team. I want to really enjoy it and take as much experience as I can to set me up for future competitions.

"I am not sure yet who is going to be there, I know the countries competing are normally strong but I am trying not to scare myself too much and just run as best I can.

"There are the European juniors later this season as well and so there are a lot of things this year to focus on and work towards.

"I would love to make it to the World Championships, the 800m is quite packed in Britain and there are a lot of people who have the potential to run very fast.

"If I can step up at the right competition and run sub two minutes hopefully I can get on the world team, I am still 18 though so even if I don't I know I have time."

Judd ducked under the European junior 800m qualifying time on each of her three outings so far this season while the A standard for the senior World Championships is exactly 2:00.00.

And, aware of the size of the task in hand to earn a plane ticket to Moscow for the senior worlds, she'll also need to win the trials for automatic selection, Judd is confident within herself.

"My coach Rob Denmark has been great and training has gone really well, I did cross country early in the season and that really helped me set up myself up endurance wise," she added.

"I have run within the 800m qualifying standard for the European juniors three times and a sub two-minute time is a big target of mine this year.

"I did the world trials two years ago and just made the final and for me I was thinking 'where do I go from here?'

"I am hoping I can do it, training would suggest that I can. I have had a steady rate of improvement under Rob and I know where I want to be and what I want to be achieving."

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