Giddying ascent of alpha female fixing gaze on Tokyo
Under the glaring night lights that brightened this patch of desert scrub, Dina Asher-smith did not so much win a race as blaze a trail. In a shade under 22 seconds, she produced a moment that had eluded every one of the country’s female sprinters before her, grasping the global gold medal that elevated her from the alpha female of British athletics to the cusp of sporting greatness.
To cement her place in the firmament, she needs to convert her feats in Qatar into an Olympic title in Tokyo next summer, but such is the steepness of her trajectory at 23 years old, she should regard her career in this sport as one without limits.
For the next 10 months, Ashersmith will be a ferociously guarded property. Nothing will be allowed to disturb the equilibrium of a young woman with history on her mind. In Doha, she has withdrawn between races into a cocoon, speaking minimally to the media and distracting herself with Great British Bake-off.
After her hat-trick of European golds in Berlin last summer, she felt far freer to branch out, gracing the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week while enjoying the prominence of being named on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list alongside Petra Kvitova and Antoine Griezmann.
Such accolades were dwarfed by the magnitude of the prize she seized here. She has travelled further than anyone believed possible when she spent much of 2017 stricken by a foot injury, turning continental gold into world glory without skipping a beat.
Nobody should downplay the significance of Asher-smith’s accomplishment here. There are comets that come around more