Dina Asher Smith, some thoughts by Stuart Weir on this fine British athlete


Asher_DinaSF1-Beijing15.jpgDina Asher-Smith, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here's Stuart Weir's article on Dina Asher-Smith, an athlete that we both have come to enjoy and respect. At the presser for the 4x 100m, Dina spoke eloquently about the 4x100m success of the British team! Watch our video on it !

Dina Asher-Smith

British athlete finishes fourth - has become a familiar, if unwelcome, refrain this week. Dina Asher Smith joined Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (200m), Kyle Langford (800m), Laura Muir (1500m) and Callum Hawkins (Marathon) in this unsought after placing. Writing an article to explain why fourth place is a laudable achievement may seem to be clutching at straws and desperately looking for excuses for GB's single medal in the first 8 days of the championships.

Dina Asher-Smith is an exciting sprint prospect. She came fifth in the 200 metres in the 2015 World Championships, setting a new GB national record, and fifth again in the Rio Olympics. Being in the shake-up for a medal in London 2017 was always a realistic aim until a fateful day in Febuary when she broke her foot. It happened at the end of a training session when she landed badly and fractured a bone in her right foot. Having a metal plate inserted into your foot six months before a home world championship was not the preparation she was planning.

From that moment on, running in London 2017 was in itself an unlikely prospect. The only positive was that it gave her some extra time to finish her history degree at King's College, London.

In the GB championships and selection trials in July, Dina came sixth in the 100 metres, her only event. With the GB selection system leaving one place to the discretion of the selectors, Dina was - perhaps controversially - given a place in the 200.

This week Dina won her heat in 22.73 (a season's best but it was only her third 200 of the year). She commented afterwards: "I was so happy to be able to put that race together in a heat without expending too much energy in each of the phases, but still making sure I was safe. I'll definitely take a 22.7 especially with the season I've had so far". She added that just making the semis had been her goal.

In the semi-final she was second, running an identical time, commenting: "That run wasn't as neat as the heats - it was the same time but the execution wasn't quite as good, so I've got some stuff to work on, especially in the second half, but I made the final. I'm so over the moon, anything now is a bonus, even stepping on the track tomorrow night is going to mean so much".

She also gave a fascinating insight into the challenge of dealing with injury: "It's been really hard, physically and mentally, because you keep telling yourself that you're going to get better but maybe you're not seeing the results immediately. You just have to keep that belief that you will be fine, and even though the odds are very much stacked against you, you can do it".

In the final she ran a great race and was in a medal position for much of the race before finishing fourth in 22.22, seven hundredths of a second behind bronze medal winner, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, commenting: "I was so close! I had absolutely no idea that I could do that tonight. I was just having fun, enjoying it and running as fast as I could. I didn't know I could do 22.22 so to do that which is faster than I did last year in an Olympic year, I am over the moon with that".

Then the icing on the cake was GB's silver medal in the women's 4 by 100. Dina, on third leg, said: "To upgrade from Olympic bronze to world silver with these girls has been absolutely incredible, and to do it at home means so much. Thank you so much to this incredible crowd. What a lift they have us. We are so proud to win the medal in London." To put this in context you need to recall that in 2012 British women's sprinting was at such a low ebb that we did not qualify for the London Olympics. Dina has been part of the revival which had brought World Championship silver and bronze and Olympic bronze medals.

The thing about Dina is that she is not only a great athlete but a lovely person, who is always smiling and always approachable.

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