Sprint queen Asher-smith tears into track his­tory

Bri­ton smashes own record to win 200m John­son-thomp­son in overnight gold po­si­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Spor World Athletics Championsh­ips - By Ben Bloom ATH­LET­ICS COR­RE­SPON­DENT in Doha

For the first time in his­tory, Britain has a fe­male sprinter who can call her­self the best in the world. Dina Asher-smith has the gold medal to prove it.

Where last Sun­day she fol­lowed in foot­steps few Bri­tish women had ever taken when win­ning 100m sil­ver, here she forged her own path in go­ing one bet­ter. By break­ing her own na­tional record to win world 200m gold in 21.88 sec­onds, Asher-smith made his­tory as the first Bri­tish woman to win a global sprint ti­tle.

Yet what she achieved in Doha stretches far be­yond that one statis­tic, no mat­ter how mo­men­tous it may be. This goes big­ger.

Asher-smith has been the sprint queen of Britain for quite some time. Last year, she be­came the undis­puted sprint queen of Europe. Af­ter last night’s ex­ploits, can any­one else have a bet­ter claim to the ti­tle sprint queen of the world?

Asher-smith, alone, made both women’s 100m and 200m podi­ums here. And while there were rea­sons for the ab­sence of many ri­vals, they should be treated as no more than that – cir­cum­stan­tial fac­tors that bear no rel­e­vance to the out­come. Her win­ning time would have been good enough for gold in 13 of the 17 edi­tions of the World Cham­pi­onships. So much for any­one who claims this was a soft gold medal.

Af­ter cross­ing the fin­ish line there was first dis­be­lief. Then came pure ela­tion. And fi­nally, when she was re­united with her mother Julie, who trav­els the world watch­ing her daugh­ter race, came the tears.

Ul­ti­mately, the only words that mat­ter are these: Asher-smith, world cham­pion. “This means so much,” said Asher-smith who is a Tele­graph Women’s Sport colum­nist. “I woke up to­day think­ing: ‘This is it. This is the mo­ment to do all the work for’. Sud­denly, the tired­ness dis­ap­peared. Ev­ery­one said: ‘You are the favourite’, but you still have to go and do it and you have to per­form. I was fo­cused on that.

“I have dreamt of this and now it’s real. I am get­ting all emo­tional, this means a lot, I am re­ally happy.”

Hav­ing rou­tinely chal­lenged her­self against the best this year, it was no sur­prise to see Asher-smith oblit­er­ate her ri­vals last night. Be­cause, truth be told, if the head­line act had looked either side of her dur­ing the 200m fi­nal she would have seen a cast of un­der­stud­ies.

The ab­sen­tee list was long. A sched­ul­ing clash meant Shau­nae Miller-uibo, un­beaten in two years over 200m, was un­able to con­test the event; Shelly-ann Fraser-pryce and Marie-josee Ta Lou, world gold and bronze 100m medal­lists last week­end, de­cided against putting their bodies through a sec­ond dis­ci­pline; dou­ble world 200m cham­pion Dafne Schip­pers and Olympic cham­pion Elaine Thomp­son both with­drew in­jured; and Bless­ing Ok­ag­bare was dis­qual­i­fied in the heats.

In such cir­cum­stances, she could eas­ily have cruised to gold with min­i­mal ex­er­tion. In­stead she went faster than ever be­fore. The mar­gin of vic­tory was wide, with sil­ver medal­list Brit­tany Brown, of the United States, clock­ing 22.22sec, and Switzer­land’s Mu­jinga Kam­bundji run­ning 22.51sec for bronze.

“Ob­vi­ously, you want to run in front of a stacked field,” said Ash­ersmith, of her miss­ing ri­vals. “At the same time, a World Cham­pi­onship ti­tle is a World Cham­pi­onship ti­tle. And 21.88 is still a good time.”

This was not about those not there. This was Asher-smith’s day – the day she put Bri­tish women’s sprint­ing on the global map.

If Kata­rina John­son-thomp­son has her way, she will fol­low Ash­ersmith to gold af­ter an open­ing-day per­for­mance which gave her an overnight lead in the hep­tathlon above Olympic, world and Eu­ro­pean cham­pion Nafi Thiam.

John­son-thomp­son set huge per­sonal bests in the 100m hur­dles, where she clocked 13.09 sec­onds, and shot put, which she launched 13.86m, as well as a cham­pi­onship record 1.95m high jump and sea­son’s best 23.08sec 200m.

That gave her an overnight points tally of 4,138 – a lead of 96 over Thiam, with the rest of the field trail­ing some way back.

Asked if she be­lieved she could win gold, she replied: “Why not? It’s some­thing that I’m aim­ing to do, some­thing that I’m in shape to do. I’ve worked very hard on my day two so we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Trail­blazer: Britain’s Dina Asher-smith leaves the field in her wake (above and far right) in Doha as she claims 200m gold. She is em­braced by mother Julie (left) and yields to tears (right)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.