JADE O’Dowda is bidding to prove why she is fast becoming one of the best junior heptathletes on the planet by delivering under pressure this weekend.

The Oxford City AC teenager heads to Bedford today looking to book her spot in the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, which take place on July 10-15.

O’Dowda has already completed half the mission, achieving the qualifying standard with a personal best of 5,504 points at the Combined Events Challenge Meeting in Firenze, Italy, last month.

She now needs to win this weekend’s England U20 Combined Events Championships to make the team for Finland.

The Gosford Hill School, Kidlington, pupil is likely to face stiff competition from defending champion Holly McArthur, who finished tenth when representing Scotland in the Commonwealth Game.

But O’Dowda, ranked seventh in the U20 world rankings, is ready for battle.

She said: “It should be a really tough competition – I will use that as motivation.

“I know Holly really well, we’re good friends.

“I will stay relaxed, I know I can do it, I’ve already got the standard.”

Oxford Mail:

  • IDOL: Jade O’Dowda chats to Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Her points haul in Italy moved the 18-year-old up to third in the senior national rankings behind Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Niamh Emerson, who won gold and bronze respectively at this year’s Commonwealth Games.

She sits ninth on the all time U20 national list, ahead of Sally Gunnell and Denise Lewis.

O’Dowda, who is in her second year in the age category, is also only 38 points behind Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill’s personal best when she was the same age in 2004.

Despite continuing her rapid rise, O’Dowda is determined to achieve more.

But it is her placing inside the top three of the senior rankings which has left the teenager stunned.

She said: “It’s pretty crazy when you look at the two people above me.

“KJT is like an idol and Niamh Emerson is only a year older than me and she’s insane.

“It’s very early in the season, but it’s pretty awesome.

“It’s nice to get that score down to replicate how things have been going in training.

“Some events were OK, but could be better, so it’s good knowing there is still more to give.”