Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce confirms status with 100m world championship gold

So dedicated has Dina Asher-Smith’s pursuit of a first individual global medal been that she has not eaten bread or sipped a drop of wine for months. Now, though, she can dine out on a sparkling silver after smashing her own 100m national record to win her first global medal.

“To get my first global medal is great, I am so happy,” said Asher-Smith, beaming from ear to ear, before setting on a victory lap around the track.

The only disappointment was that so few people were in the Khalifa International Stadium to see her become the first British woman since Kathy Smallwood-Cook in 1983 to claim a world championship sprint medal.

It made a mockery of the decision to take these championships to Doha. What is the point of track and field venturing into new territories when the sport is met with such apathy?

Those who were there – and there were probably no more than 3,000 people in the 40,000-seater stadium – saw a thrilling race, with Asher-Smith powering home in 10.83sec behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who blasted to victory in 10.71. Marie-Josée Ta Lou took bronze in 10.90, with the Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson, fourth in 10.93.

It was no disgrace for Asher-Smith to lose to the brilliant Jamaican, who claimed her fourth 100m world championship gold medal, one more than Usain Bolt. Add in her two Olympic titles and her 13 times under 10.80, more than any other woman, and the 32-year-old has a legitimate claim to be considered the greatest of all time.

Asher-Smith looked relaxed at the start, blowing kisses to the crowd. Fraser-Pryce, meanwhile, waved regally, like an empress. Once again she delivered and then celebrated with her one-year-old child.

Asher-Smith pushed her all the way and the good news for the Briton is that Fraser-Pryce will not be running the 200m when it begins on Monday evening.

It is two years since Asher-Smith finished a history degree at King’s College, London, but ever since she has been busy scribbling fresh chronicles of her own. Last year she became the first British athlete to claim a treble of European titles at the same event. Now she wants to be the first UK athlete to win three medals at a world championships. On this evidence she is on the verge of history again.

There was gold for another track and field legend as Allyson Felix won her 12th world championship title after a thrilling edition of the first running of the mixed 4 x 400m relay. The Polish team stacked their team with two men in the open legs and went into the lead on the second lap, but their anchor leg, Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, was swallowed up by the US team, who won gold, and then the Jamaicans, who took silver, and Bahrainian team, who claimed bronze.

It was the 33-year-old Felix’s first medal since having a baby last year and she said: “I am just so amazed to come back. I couldn’t have asked for more,”

There was disappointment for Britain’s team of Rabah Yousif, Zoey Clark, Emily Diamond and Martyn Rooney who finished fourth after a poor final baton change left them with too much to do.

Rooney said: “The girls were outstanding. They set me in a position. I messed up. I went early, I got excited and I lost the position.”

There was also heartbreak for Britain’s Holly Bradshaw as she finished fourth in the women’s pole vault despite a leap of 4.80m – one centimetre short of her outdoor personal best.

The 27-year-old, who was dropped by her sponsor Nike this year, has always been one of the most reliable and consistent members of the British team but at global championships she has always fallen just short.

Her hopes were again raised by a second-time clearance at 4.80m, which left her in third position. But two failures at 4.85m followed by another at 4.90m left her out of the medals.

“It does hurt a little bit,” she said. “The hardest thing for me is there was a moment where I felt I almost had my hand around a medal.”

She also had a message to doubters? “I’ve always been top-six and top-10 in the world every year since 2012 so I don’t really care what people think.

“But it was a bit disheartening that no one wanted to support me. I’m now doing it for me and I had so much fun out there.”

The gold medal was won by the Russian Anzhelika Sidorova, competing as an authorised neutral athlete, with a clearance of 4.95m while the American Sandi Morris took silver and Katerina Stefanidi of Greece claimed bronze.

There was no joy for Britain’s three men in the 800m semi-final as Elliot Giles, Jamie Webb and Kyle Langford all crashed out. Langford, who was fourth in London 2017, looked particularly unlucky as he was bumped in the final straight and said it had affected him.

“I was closing quicker than anyone in the home straight and I was making good ground,” he said. “But the Kenyan three times cut me up. They have ruined the race.”