Asher-smith sees the bigger picture as rival storms ahead
Briton ends second best to Fraser-pryce in 100m Sharp digs deep at finish to claim victory in 800m
‘To have placed highly in a field which could have been a world or Olympic final, I’m really proud’
In a season geared towards success at this year’s World Championships, British sprinter Dina Ashersmith knows everything now is about doing the right things. Failing that, it is about saying the right things.
Yesterday Asher-smith, winner of triple European gold last year, was provided with another chance to enhance her world-medal credentials as she lined up against two-time Olympic champion Shelly-ann Fraser-pryce and twotime world champion Dafne Schippers in the 100 metres at the Anniversary Games.
One of them was dispatched – although not as a direct result of Asher-smith, but rather in a day to forget for Schippers, who crept into the final as one of the fastest losers before, eager to make amends, false-starting and being sent on her way.
Fraser-pryce was in a league of her own, however, stretching away from the field in 10.78 seconds and delivering a subtle, yet timely, reminder to Asher-smith, nine years her junior, that if the Briton wants to start chipping away at her seven world titles in Doha, she will have to dig deep.
Asher-smith produced one of the quickest runs of her career to finish second in 10.92sec, fractionally slower than the 10.91sec clocked in the heats to equal her season’s best, and seven-hundreths off her personal best. It also continued an impressive level of consistency this season from the 23-year-old, who has not finished off the podium in six 100m and 200m Diamond League meets. And while disappointed not to deliver victory for her home crowd at the London Stadium, Asher-smith was quick to point out the bigger picture to anyone wanting to pounce on her finishing second to her Jamaican rival.
“I came here wanting to win my home Diamond League, wanting to run a 10.8, but to run two low sub10s, to have placed really highly in that kind of field, which could have been a world or Olympic final, I’m really proud of myself,” she said.
“I wouldn’t say I was frustrated, because when you’ve got such high-calibre women it makes you raise your game as well.
“It’s going to be a really good World Championships. We’ve planned it so we work backwards from the worlds. I’ll just keep training and working harder to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be.”
Fraser-pryce, who missed the 2017 World Championships after giving birth, acknowledged the challenge being provided by the likes of Asher-smith and others.
“Female sprinting is at a height I have never seen before. It’s just remarkable,” she said. “Dina had two solid clockings today in less than one hour. I look forward to having more competition with athletes like Dina, who are aggressive and passionate about what they do.”
The London crowd did have one British individual winner to cheer on day two of the Anniversary Games yesterday, albeit in a non diamond League event, as Lynsey Sharp, following fellow Scottish middle-distance runner Laura Muir, winner of Saturday’s 1500m, took victory in the 800m.
The 29-year-old dug deep in the final 100m to record a season’s best time of 1min 58.61sec, ahead of next month’s trials in Birmingham. “Everyone has been saying how fast the track is, so it was good to make the most of it today with a season’s best,” Sharp said. “I’m happy with my time. Last week was good, but it was so nice to back myself up here as well.”
There was disappointment in the women’s long jump, however, with Britons Lorraine Ugen and Shara Proctor unable to trouble the podium. Ugen was the highest home hope in fifth with a season’s best of 6.62m behind Malaika Mihambo of Germany, with a meeting record 7.02m. Proctor, the world silver medallist in 2015, failed to record a legal mark, while Katarina Johnson-thompson, who was competing in the long jump as she continued her world heptathlon preparations, managed a best mark of 6.47m in seventh.
Work to do: Shelly-ann Fraser-pryce leaves Dina Asher-smith in her wake; (below) Lynsey Sharp en route to victory in the 800m