Athletics: Emily Dudgeon at her brilliant best to reach 800m final

Emily Dudgeon, centre, took the initiative in her semi-final (Getty)
Emily Dudgeon, centre, took the initiative in her semi-final (Getty)
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Capital hope Emily Dudgeon (Edinburgh AC) chopped nearly a second off her best time with a brilliant performance to reach tonight’s final of the women’s 800 metres in the World Junior Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, writes SANDY SUTHERLAND.

“I’m delighted to be in the final – I don’t want to end up with any regrets from my biggest championships to date so I want to make sure I leave nothing on the track,” said Dudgeon, who, true to her words, grabbed the initiative in the second of yesterday’s three semi-finals and burst into the lead after the break, taking the bell in 58 seconds 
before going on to win 
in 2:02.32, compared to 
her previous best of 2:03.28.

But ominously American Ajee Wilson, a semi-finalist in the US Olympic Trials, looked to be throttling back as she trotted in a close second.

“I want to run the best I can and see where I finish,” said Dudgeon, a 19-year-old Mary Erskine’s FP, who won her first round heat in similarly positive fashion on Tuesday in 2:05.73.

Her British team-mate Jessica Judd (Chelmsford), who was third in the UK Trials at the age of only 17 and also won her first round heat, followed her into the final with another front-running performance in the third semi-final which she won in 2:02.30.

“I knew I’d need about 2:02.0 to get through to the final and that would be a PB,” continued Dudgeon, who denied the final would now be a big head-to-head with her young English rival.

“Jessica is a fine athlete and has also run very well here but I don’t think the 
final is just about two 
British girls – we need to 
be wary of a few others.”

Highlight of the British team’s performances yesterday was the superb 100m victory of former footballer Adam Gemili in 10.05 seconds, the fastest time by a British athlete 
this year and 0.12sec faster than his nearest rival, American Aaron Ernest, with another American and two Jamaicans also in his wake. Gemili, who has already been chosen for the British Olympic team, is due to go in both 
today’s 200m heats and the 4x100m sprint relay and Capital sprinter Tom Holligan (EAC) will be 
hoping he gets a chance 
to team up with him in tomorrow’s relay heats.