ASHER-SMITH STRIKES GOLD Dom­i­nates 200m Field To End Bri­tain’s Short Sprint Drought

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport -

Doha: Dina Asher-Smith ended Bri­tain’s 36-year wait for a short sprint ti­tle at the World Cham­pi­onships on Wed­nes­day as Grant Hol­loway of the United States stormed to vic­tory in the 110 me­tres hur­dles. Asher-Smith, the sil­ver medal­list in the 100m, dom­i­nated a 200m field de­pleted by in­juries and with­drawals to claim gold in 21.88 sec­onds at the Khal­ifa Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day.

The 23-year-old be­comes the first Bri­tish woman in World Cham­pi­onship his­tory to win ei­ther a 100m or 200m gold.

“I don’t know what to say, I don’t think it’s prop­erly sunk in,” Asher-Smith told the BBC. “I woke up to­day think­ing ‘this is it. This is the mo­ment you did all your work for’. The tired­ness dis­ap­peared.

“I’m lost for words. I dreamt of this and now it’s real.” Brit­tany Brown of the United States took sil­ver in 22.22sec and Mu­jinga Kam­bundji of Switzer­land was third in 22.51sec. A dra­matic 110m hur­dles fi­nal mean­while saw the world leader Hol­loway clinch vic­tory in 13.10sec af­ter lead­ing from start to fin­ish.

Olympic and reign­ing world cham­pion Omar McLeod looked to be clos­ing on Hol­loway in the fi­nal stages, but crashed heav­ily at the fi­nal bar­rier.

Sergey Shubenkov, world cham­pion in 2015, took sil­ver in 13.15sec whilst French­man Pas­cal Martinot-La­garde fin­ished third in 13.18sec.

Asher-Smith and Hol­loway’s wins were the only two gold medals de­cided on the track on Wed­nes­day.

The other gold came in the men’s ham­mer throw, where Pawel Fa­jdek of Poland suc­cess­fully de­fended his 2017 crown af­ter launch­ing his fourth throw to 80.50m.

That was over two me­tres bet­ter than sil­ver medal­list Quentin Bigot of France, who fin­ished sec­ond with 78.19m. Bence Halasz of Hun­gary was third with 78.18m.

The open­ing rounds of the de­cathlon mean­while saw France’s reign­ing world cham­pion and world record holder Kevin Mayer bat­tling Cana­di­ans Damian Warner and Pierce LePage in the multi-dis­ci­pline event.

Mayer opened the de­fence of his ti­tle with a per­sonal best in the 100m, clock­ing 10.50sec to grab 975 points.

The French­man fol­lowed it with a sea­son’s best leap in the long jump be­fore erupt­ing in cel­e­bra­tion af­ter launch­ing a throw of 16.82m in the shot put.

Af­ter five events, how­ever, Warner is in the gold medal po­si­tion with 4,513 points, with LePage just be­hind on 4,486pts.

Mayer re­mains firmly in con­tention with 4,483pts head­ing into Thurs­day.

In the hep­tathlon, Bri­tain’s Kata­rina John­son-Thomp­son is locked in a thrilling duel with Bel­gium’s reign­ing Olympic and world cham­pion Nafis­satou Thiam.

John­son-Thomp­son recorded per­sonal bests in the shot put and 100m hur­dles as well as a sea­son’s best of 23.08sec in the 200m to fin­ish the day on 4,138 points. With the fi­nal three of seven dis­ci­plines re­main­ing, John­son-Thomp­son leads Thiam by 96 points.

The com­pe­ti­tion con­cludes on Thurs­day with the long jump, javelin and 800m. Thiam will aim to eat into John­sonThomp­son’s lead in the javelin, which is

tra­di­tion­ally one of her Bri­tish ri­val’s weaker events.

Else­where Wed­nes­day, the men’s 400m wit­nessed a shock with Michael Nor­man, the world’s fastest man over the dis­tance this year, bow­ing out in the semi-fi­nals. Nor­man, 21, trailed home last in his semi­fi­nal with a time of 45.94sec.

Nor­man later re­vealed he had been strug­gling with a mys­tery in­jury to the lower half of his body for the past two months.

“My body gave me warn­ing signs to­day and I lis­tened to them and made the ex­ec­u­tive choice to slow down in­stead of risk­ing in­jury,” he told re­porters.

“I’ve al­ways ap­proached each new chal­lenge as it pre­sented it­self. To­day my body got the best of me.”

Getty Im­ages

TAK­ING THE LEAD: Dina Asher-Smith com­petes in the women’s 200m fi­nal on Wed­nes­day

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