Asher-Smith makes history with world gold

Asher-Smith makes history with world gold

02 October 2019 / 20:50
Dina Asher-Smith's dream became a reality as she made history by winning the women's 200m at the World Athletics Championship in Doha.

Asher-Smith became the first British woman to win an individual world sprint title and just the seventh British female – after Fatima Whitbread, Liz McColgan, Sally Gunnell, Paula Radcliffe, Christine Ohuruogu and Jessica Ennis-Hill – to win an individual world gold of any description.

The 23-year-old was simply imperious, flying out of the blocks and running away from the field to clock a time of 21.88s – a personal best, a new British record and a full 0.34s ahead of USA’s Brittany Brown in second.

Asher-Smith has announced herself as a bona-fide global athletics superstar at these championships, this gold medal adding to her scintillating silver in the 100m which she also earned with a new British record.  

The normally loquacious Brit was visibly emotional as the magnitude of her achievement sunk in but unsurprisingly ecstatic about turning her favourite’s tag into gold and laying down an early Olympic marker.

"I don't know what to say, I don't think it's properly sunk in,” said Asher-Smith after the race. “John [coach John Blackie] and I knew I could do it but it’s a different thing actually going and doing it – it means so much.

"I woke up today thinking 'this is it. This is the moment you did all your work for'. The tiredness disappeared.

“There’s so many British fans here – all the support means so much. For my mum, my dad and his wife to be here, it means so much.

“It’s one thing everyone saying you’re the favourite but it’s a different thing going and doing it. I'm lost for words. I dreamt of this and now it's real.

“I’m going to enjoy this one and use it as motivation going into the big one [Olympic Games in Tokyo] next year.”

Elsewhere, Katarina Johnson-Thompson put herself in pole position to join Asher-Smith as a gold medallist after a brilliant day one in the heptathlon.

The Brit set personal bests in both the opening 100m hurdles (13.09s) and one of her weaker disciplines, the shot put (13.86m), while a solid performance in the high jump (1.95m) and season’s best time of 23.08s in the 200m left her on 4,138 points.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson

That is 96 points clear of her biggest rival Nafissatou Thiam – the Belgian currently lying second – and puts her in a strong position ahead of Thursday’s long jump, javelin and 800m.

“The hurdles performance was a long time coming,” said Johnson-Thompson. “I've been stuck on 13.3 (seconds) for so many years and I did not expect in a million years to run 13.09, so I was happy with how I started.

“In the shot put, I was happy to be able to dig deep within myself and get a PB by 70cm, which is insane.

"To end the day on top is really important. I've still got three events to negotiate but to be in first place after a not great 200m, I'm happy to be on top."

Earlier in the session, Laura Muir and Sarah McDonald safely made it through the women’s 1500m heats, while Eilish McColgan and Laura Weightman did likewise over 5000m.

Meanwhile, Sophie McKinna produced a brilliant personal best of 18.61m in the women’s shot put to qualify automatically for the Thursday’s final and was understandably ecstatic.

“I'm never speechless but I am speechless now,” said McKinna. “I'm over the moon.

“As a thrower, you generally know when you let go of it if it's a good throw but I didn't expect that!

“To get into a final and perform to the best of my ability at a World Championships, it means the world.”

Sportsbeat 2019