Dina Asher-Smith set on delivering at Worlds in ‘golden’ women’s 100m field

Dina Asher-Smith will find herself in a strange position on the 100m start line on Sunday. For once there is no great buzz about her medal prospects, no talk of her leading the British charge, no sense she will add more individual medals to her 200m gold and 100m silver from 2019 in Doha, and 200m bronze in Eugene last year.

But while the 27-year-old is ranked sixth in the world this year over 100m, and 12th over 200m, she has a simple message for any doubters. “I don’t mind what is said. We don’t run on paper, we run on the track.”

Asher-Smith has a history of delivering when it matters, winning 15 medals at major championships. While she has started slowly this season, a recent 100m of 10.85sec in London has given her confidence she is in shape to go under her personal best of 10.83 and ruffle some feathers in the coming days.

“I love championships,” she says. “It’s my sixth worlds. They suit the kind of person I am.

“I’m genuinely excited. I’ve been feeling really good for the whole season. Whether the times wanted to pop out in May or June was beyond my control. But I’m in a really good place.”

Asher-Smith is aware it will not be easy in what she believes is a golden age in women’s sprinting. Lined up against her over the 100m and 200m will be Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the two-time Olympic and reigning world champion over 100m, who is back from injury, and the fastest woman in the world this year, Shericka Jackson, whose time of 10.65 is almost two-tenths faster than Asher-Smith’s best.

When Asher-Smith looks around she will also see Marie-Josée Ta Lou, who has several successes in the Diamond League this season, and Sha’Carri Richardson, the controversial US sprinter with the talent to win gold but also the temperament to blow up.

Dina Asher-Smith talks tactics with coach John Blackie in Budapest
Dina Asher-Smith talks tactics with coach John Blackie in Budapest. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

“It will be the one of the strongest and most exciting events of this world championships,” says Asher-Smith. Few would argue with that assessment.

Helping her here will be John Blackie, who began coaching Asher-Smith when she was eight. Blackie is in his 70s and uses a mobility scooter, but he has an unerring knack of being a horse whisperer for Britain’s greatest female sprinter.

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“We have a really good relationship of trust, openness and honesty,” says Asher-Smith. “That is the foundation of any kind of good athlete-coach relationship, particularly when you’re trying to be the best in the world.”

When asked how she thinks history is going to view this era of female sprinting, Asher-Smith laughs. “They are going to be like: ‘Wow, they were fast,’” she says. “I definitely think we’re in a golden age. It will be remembered as a Bolt‑era but far more competitive.”

As always, Asher-Smith intends to be in the medal mix again.

source: theguardian.com