Dina Asher-Smith: Who is the British Olympian and 200m world champion?

UK’s fastest woman has seen her Olympics not go to plan but can still end them on a high

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 05 August 2021 15:01
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Dina Asher-Smith cries as she pulls out of Olympic 200m with hamstring injury

Great Britain sprinter Dina Asher-Smith still has her eyes on Olympic glory despite Tokyo not going to plan so far.

The 25-year-old saw her Games wrecked by a hamstring injury she suffered in June and pulled out of the 200 metres after failing to reach the 100m final last week.

She made her comeback on Thursday to help the 4x100m relay team set a new British record of 41.55 seconds to win their heat and reach the final.

The world 200m champion said: “It (winning a medal) would be absolutely amazing but again that is not the thing I think about right now. It is about staying focused. That is where my head has been for the past week. It hasn’t been in what happened. It hasn’t been about the 100m or 200m. It has been about me getting back on the training track and making sure I bring my absolute A-game to this race.

“Of course, it (a medal) would mean incredible things to everybody. We are the bronze medallists in Rio. It would be amazing for us to get another medal again, for all of us, for all of our lives, for all of our individual dreams and aspirations. To get that we have to stay focused and make sure we execute and do what needs to be done.

“After the 100m I did say there was no way I wasn’t going to be here for the 4x100m girls. I only had one day off then John (Blackie, coach) had me back on the training track. Essentially all I need is a few more weeks and sessions. He was saying if I had a few more days it would have been the 100m final, another week and it would have been 10.8. It’s one of those things where I’m chasing times.”

Born Geraldina Asher-Smith in Farnborough, Hampshire, on 4 December 1995 and raised in Orpington, Greater London, she attended Newstead Wood School and King’s College London, where she studied for a BA in history and graduated in 2017.

She is a cousin of ex-footballer and BBC pundit Garth Crooks and follows the sport closely herself, supporting Manchester United, whom her relative briefly played for in 1983/84.

Asher-Smith is a member of Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletic Club, is coached by John Blackie and has been attracting notice as an sprinter since she was as young as 13 and running the 300 metres in 39.16 seconds, setting a world record for that age group.

As a junior, she went on to win the English Schools Championships 200 metre title at under-15, under-17 and under-20 levels, the last in 2013, the same year she won two gold medals at the European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy, where she again won the 200 metres and the 4 x 100 metre relay as part of a team also including Yasmin Miller, Steffi Wilson and Desiree Henry.

That quartet broke the British junior record with a time of 43.81 seconds.

Asher-Smith also took part in the same event at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia, alongside Annabelle Lewis, Ashleigh Nelson and Hayley Jones, winning bronze, the same year she was shortlisted for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year

Dina Asher-Smith

In 2014, at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, she won the 100 metres posting a time of 11.23 seconds.

Asher-Smith followed that by picking up silver in the 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2015 and by securing gold and silver medals at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, winning for the 200 metres and relay respectively.

That same year, she represented Great Britain at the Rio Olympics and won Bronze as part of the relay team, also coming fifth in the 200 metres.

After winning another relay silver medal at the 2017 World Championships on home turf in London, Asher-Smith picked up a gold in the same discipline at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast as well as the bronze for the 200 metres.

She hit the form of her life at the European Championships in Berlin, Germany, in 2018, dominating that year’s track events and picking up gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 metres and relay races.

Later that year, she was back in the Czech Republic and made off with two more silver medals at the Continental Cup in Ostrava.

Before the pandemic struck, her largest major competition appearance was at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she won gold in the 200 metres once more, plus two more silvers in the 100 metres and relay events.

That same year, she recorded her all-time personal bests for both the 100 and 200 metres, 10.83 and 21.88 seconds respectively.

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