This is part 2/4 on Dina Asher-Smith, by Stuart Weir. Dina Asher-Smith is one of the finest athletes in British Athletics.
2019 Diamond League review
In the second of four articles on Dina, I will recall some of her major races in 2019 and compare her assessment with mine, in both cases written at the time. I was in the stadium to see Dina run in 8 Diamond Leagues in 2019 as follows.
Doha Diamond League 3 May. First place in 200m in 22.26 (WL)
Dina: I was really happy. I didn’t expect that time so early in the season. It was good, really, really good. It’s always my aim to get out well and maintain my form. My coach told me to get out well and run my race and I am happy to have done that. Early in the season when you’re not quite race sharp, it is easy to get off plan and be distracted by the crowd but I was happy with how it went today.
Stuart: The stand-out performance was by Dina Asher-Smith who ran a world-lead 22.26. She has only run faster than that three times previously. The time is the more remarkable when you realize it is only her second race of the year, the other being a leg of a relay for her club.
Bauhaus Diamond League, Stockholm 29 May. First place in 200m in 22.18 (WL)
Dina: I am very happy with that – my aim was to come and win and run my own race, which is very important in a race of that calibre. I didn’t expect to run that kind of time as it is quite cold out and late at night.
Stuart: Dina Asher-Smith won again in Stockholm, with a scorching 22.18 world-leading performance. It was a victory over an impressive field with Jamaica’s double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson second in 22.66 and two-time world champion, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands third in 22.78.
What I also remember about that evening was that it was bitterly cold and the mixed-zone is outside. I was the last person waiting to speak to her but she made me feel that I was the most important person in the world at that moment.
Golden Gala, Rome 6 June. Second in 100m 10.94
Dina: I’m a bit frustrated because every time I step on the line I want to win but 10.94 is very quick for a season opener, especially when I’m still a little rusty.
Stuart: What can we say about Dina Asher-Smith, who never seems to run a bad race? After running two WLs in the 200m she runs sub-11 in her first 100m of the season, behind Elaine Thompson 10.89
At the pre-event press conference Dina described being in Rome as “walking in the paths of history”. She is, after all, a history graduate.
Athletissima, Lausanne 5 July. Second 100m 10.91
Dina: I want to come in to every race and win but at the same time it is Shelly-Ann, so it’s not too bad to be behind a champion like her. My coach will be frustrated about my start. I could have run a bit faster and done some things better so it’s a bit frustrating.
Stuart: Dina Asher-Smith ran a season’s best 10.91 in the 100m, an impressive time but for that pesky Fraser-Pryce running 10.74.
Anniversary Games, London 21 July. Second in the 100m in 10.91
Dina: I’m in really good shape. I wanted to go 10.8 today so seeing that time in the final was a bit frustrating. But I can’t be disappointed with two 10.9s and I’ll definitely look to push to faster times as the season progresses.
Stuart: 10.92 in the prelim and 10.91 in the final was not a bad afternoon’s work. Fraser-Pryce, who always starts well, got a flyer with everyone else struggling in her wake.
Birmingham Diamond League, 18 August. Second 200m in 22.36
Dina: I am really happy to have finished second in that race although having said that, I am a competitor so obviously I want to win every race. To maintain my form and finish strongly against arguably the best 400m runner in the world is good so all in all, I am happy with that race.
Stuart: The race did not disappoint. Miller-Uibo made the fastest start but did not maintain her impetus. Dina Asher-Smith had a great run, side by side with Shelly-Ann. Schippers, Bryant and Okagbare were there but not quite with the leaders. Asher-Smith got daylight between herself and SAFP. Then Miller-Uibo came with a late run to win.
Memorial Van Damme, Brussels 6 September. First 100m in 10.88
Dina: It was good this evening. I knew I was racing fast but in 100m you don’t have the time to look around and see where your competitors are. Only after the finish I saw on the big screen that I won. In the past I have run more 200m races but recently I’m improving at 100m.
Stuart: The stand-out performance by a British athlete in Brussels was Dina Asher-Smith winning the 100m. Her time was a season’s best 10.88 with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce second in 10.95, the only two under 11 seconds.
Weltklasse, Zurich 29 August. Second in 200m in 22:08
Dina: It was good. Obviously, I am a competitor so I always want to go into every race and win. That is always my aim and was definitely my aim today. In the race, I was irritated to see myself in second but when I saw Shaunae ran 21.7 which is faster than my PB, sometimes it’s like what can you do? I was happy to run 22.0 which is the fastest I’ve ever run going into a major championship so it bodes well for the worlds.
Stuart: The stand-out performance was Dina Asher-Smith coming second in the 200m in 22:08. Shame – from Dina’s perspective – that Shaunae Miller-Uibo decided to run a World Lead, National Record and Diamond League record of 21.74!