When Dina Asher-Smith stepped into the London Olympic Stadium for the very first time as an athlete, fresh off of winning a European junior gold medal and just a year after being a kit carrier for the stars, little was expected of her. Selected to play a small part in the proceedings, the then 17 year-old athlete stayed relatively under the radar as she lined up as part of British 4*100m relay team that flew home to a victory at the 2013 Anniversary Games.
Later that summer she would be involved as the same relay team won world championship bronze, before going on to become an individual world junior champion the following summer. Elevating herself ever further with a senior silver medal at the European indoor championships this March.
Now two years on from her first appearance at the event, a lot is expected of the British-record-holder who returns to the venue as a very different athlete: “I can’t wait because there’s been so much hype and build up and I can’t wait to run in the Olympic Stadium. You can expect a show from not just me, but from everybody.” She said.
On this occasion Asher-Smith is also taking things into her own hands as she mixes it with the elite athletes over the 4*100m on Friday and then the 100m on Saturday, where she will be hoping to first make it through the heats, before having a big impact in the final.
A big task lays ahead of her as she faces the likes of Commonwealth champion Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, American English Gardner and European champion Dafne
Schippers. Nonetheless the sprinter is excited by the challenge and hoping it can push her to do well: “When you’re in a really great field you have to run really quickly. If you’re racing against these girls then you’re gonna need to run a really fast time, so I’m looking to execute on the weekend and try to make the final and see where it goes from there.”
Fresh off a 4th place finish at her first ever international Diamond League in Monaco, Asher-Smith is fired up by her disappointment at that race and ready to test herself again.
Speaking about her experience from the Monaco, the teenager seemed to have mixed emotions: “I wasn’t happy with the race and I didn’t execute the way I wanted to. But at the same time I came off injury free and it wasn’t a bad time.”
In spite of her performance, she said it had been a great experience: “In terms of stepping up to the Diamond League abroad, it was really fun I really enjoyed it. Monaco is one of the best Diamond Leagues on the circuit..”
Whatever happens this weekend the more important experience will comes in four weeks time. Next month Asher-Smith will enter another famous Olympic stadium when she heads to Beijing for the world championships, a platform where she could make a very big name for herself. While she may not have been involved in the 08 Games in the same way as she was in London, she said she has fond memories of the event and admits she cannot wait to compete there: “I remember I was watching on TV, I was watching Usain and Christine run so well! It was an absolutely amazing Olympic Games, the opening ceremony was absolutely amazing.” she said “The Bird’s Nest just looked so iconic as a structure. The track was so good there, you have world records and everything – it was all executed so well so I know they’ll do fantastically for the World Champs and I’m really excited to go there in a few weeks.”