Jess Judd ready to take on Olympic stars at Diamond League

Jess Judd

Jess Judd

First published in Sport by

CANVEY teenager Jessica Judd will complete a sensational summer by racing in Switzerland tonight before going head-to-head with the Olympic 800m champion in the Diamond League on Sunday.

The 17-year-old said it “was crazy” after learning she would be running against the London 2012 champion Mariya Savinova plus the previous Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo in a star-studded meeting in Birmingham at the weekend.

But first she lines up in an under-20 1,500m at the Lausanne Diamond League tonight on the same bill as a host of Olympic superstars including 100m sprint champions Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“It’s my first experience of flying out to a meeting like this,” said Judd. “My friends have been saying, ‘it’s alright for some’, but I have never done anything like this before.

“It’s quite exciting and to have Usain Bolt and people like that at the same meeting is amazing.”

Judd, who won a silver medal in the 800m at the World Junior Championships earlier this summer, is hoping to use the 1,500m as a tune up for Sunday’s 800m at Birmingham when she is hoping to break the magical two-minute barrier for the first time.

“I’m the fastest 1,500m runner in the field tonight so I think it will be hard to beat the time I ran in Barcelona (4m 9.93s when she finished fifth in the World Junior Championships final). If I can just get through it for Sunday it will be quite nice.”

Sunday’s Diamond League meeting at Birmingham has been billed as a homecoming for Great Britain’s medal winners at the Olympics.

It will be screened live on the BBC with Judd’s 800m on at 3.58pm.

Judd watched the 800m semi-finals at the Olympics from trackside and is still pinching herself that she will get to race three of the top four in the eventual final in Birmingham.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “Just a few weeks ago I was watching them and now I’m going to be racing against them. I’ve got nothing to lose and if I can run sub two minutes that would be amazing.

“I’ve sat watching Diamond League meetings on the TV for years and to think I’m now part of that is amazing.”

Judd goes into her final two races of the season in good form.

She had a short break after a gruelling World Junior Championships campaign and returned with a bang last week, winning an 800m at Eltham in 2m 1.3s.

“It felt great to run that time at Eltham and I went through 600m in 88 seconds which I was really pleased with,” she said. “ I think I just lost concentration in the last 100m.

“I had my best training session of the year on Monday so I’m ready. These are my last two races of the season so I’ve just got to go for it.”

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