This is part 2 on Dina Asher-Smith, done at the Karlsruhe virtual presser. Thanks Stuart Weir.
Dina so excited to race again
Dina Asher-Smith pronounced herself “honestly so excited to race” again, her first serious race since the October 2019 World Championships in Doha. Her 2020 season had consisted of just three club-level 150s. She added: “Running is a big part of me and I’m so excited for tomorrow”.
On Friday might she will race against Ewa Swoboda of Poland, Ajla del Ponte of Switzerland and Tatjana Pinto of Germany as well as compatriot, Asha Philip. Looking forward to the race she said: “should be a very good race and I am super excited to get out and compete with some of the other fastest women in the world over 60 m. I want to have fun and hopefully put into practice what I’ve been working hard on for the past year and a bit”.
It is also her first indoor race since 2018 when she ran six 60s in three meets with a best of 7.08. “I normally train through and focus on the outdoor season”, she explained. I am genuinely excited to give it a real attack this year. I have absolutely no idea what I can do. It’s a very long time since I’ve run a 60 in earnest. I’m just going to go out and run as quickly and hopefully be successful throughout the season”.
She was made aware that the British record, Asha Philip’s European Championship winning 7.06, was perhaps within her grasp. The consummate professional replied: “I’d love to get the record but we will see. It has been a strange year and I’ve had a big gap in racing. I’m gonna go out and perform the best I can and if that produces some amazing fast performances then I’ll be happy. So hopefully”.
She confirmed that DÅ±sseldorf on Sunday and hopefully more indoor world series races and the European Indoors were in her plans before adding the sadly necessary caveat: “As we all know it’s a fast-moving situation. I definitely want to compete more but we’re also trying to keep safe. In this strange year I will have to be flexible with my plans”.
Her last indoor championship was the Worlds in Portland 2016 where she ran 7.11 in the semi-final to qualify comfortably but then had to withdraw from the final. Her enthusiasm for the 2021 European Indoors was obvious: “I would love to go to the European indoors. I haven’t done an indoor championship since 2016 – that’s an entire Olympic cycle and I am a different athlete now so it would be fun to do an indoor championship”. Fun is a word that she used several times. She is fiercely competitive; this is her job but it is equally clear that she loves it.
Inevitably she was asked about Tokyo and she said all the right things: “Obviously I would love to go to the Olympic Games and do what every athlete dreams of, having a fantastic performance. It’s not just something we’ve been working towards for a significant part of our career and through the Olympic cycle but also mentally something that we have been focusing on more intently during the pandemic, making sure that you’re staying within your training program and doing everything you can. That has been the focal point for many of us during the year obviously as well as staying safe, staying at home and doing the responsible things”.
When she was asked a question in German – which was translated for her – about how she felt about running 60m rather than 100m or 200m, she replied with a smile that while she was not going to answer in German, she did understand the reference to 100 and 200. The History graduate continued “I remember that from my school German!”