Dina Asher-Smith runs 10.99, sets new British record, by Beren Cross

Dina Asher-Smith, photo by PhotoRun.net

Beren Cross wrote this piece on Dina Asher-Smith, and her fine British record for the 100 meters on Saturday. 

You have seen one of the stars of the 2024 Olympics: Dina Asher-Smith and Candice Hill. 

Enjoy the ride.

The planners had envisaged a barnstorming finale with the women's 100m final, scheduled last on the bill, but the real fireworks for the British crowd in London launched more than two hours earlier.

Dina Asher-Smith, Great Britain's most-exciting female sprinting prospect in history, had forgotten to read the script before she was led out to the start of her heat shortly  2:40 P.M.

The 19-year-old could not hold back her infectious smile as the sell-out crowd sounded its appreciation at her introduction, before she then failed to hold back her speed in the proceeding 11 seconds.

The pop which could be heard around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as she crossed the line was not the British record she had just re-written, but her eyes shooting from their sockets as she glanced at the clock.

Her 10.99sec skimmed another three-hundredths of a second from the national record she set just earlier this summer in Hengelo, Netherlands, but it also set anticipation high for the final, which was ultimately unfulfilled.


Dina Asher-Smith, photo by PhotoRun.net

A rousing finish from the British men's sprint relay team, holding off a late French charge in the final few minutes before Asher-Smith's reintroduction, only whetted the appetite.

Surely she would run quicker, surely she would lower her national record yet further, surely she would set herself up for a tilt at a World Championships medal, but no, it was not to be.

The class of Dafne Schippers (10.92sec), Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (10.98sec) and Murielle Ahouré (11.01sec) was too much for the teenager to hold back, and though she still clocked 11.06sec for fourth, Asher-Smith reminded the 50,000 spectators of her tender years.

It was her heat which will live long in the memory though, along with the £5,000 cheque she received for breaking the record.

"I'm absolutely over the moon," she said after the final "I felt in good shape in Monaco and here, but being in good shape and doing are two completely different things.

"When I crossed the line and saw that time (10.99sec) on the clock I was beaming, as most people saw.

"When I was preparing for my heat all I was thinking about was executing, getting out well, maintaining it towards the end because you might want to run sub-11, but if you don't run your race correctly it's just not going to come.

"I didn't expect to be in front of Murielle going through, so I was just like: 'what on earth did I just do?'"

The sub-11 clocking puts the Londoner inside the world's top-20 for 2015, but she remains in awe of those bigger names around her.

She said pressure was not the reason behind her slower performance in the final, more of a poorly-executed technique.

"I was in an absolutely amazing field, with an Olympic medallist, Olympic finalist, world medallist, world finalist. I was just grateful to be there," she said.

"I looked around the call room and I thought these were people I had watched on TV. To be in a race with them and have a decent lane was just out of this world.

"I was just happy to be in the mix, no pressure, I was just enjoying the amazing arena and the amazing race."

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