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

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Athletics - By Pippa Field at the Lon­don Sta­dium

‘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

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