Dina Asher-Smith wins 200m gold at World Athletics Championships

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport in Doha
2019 World Athletics Championships
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha Dates: 27 September-6 October
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website and app; Listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live; Live streams, clips and text commentary online.

Dina Asher-Smith became the first British woman to win a major global sprint title as she stormed to victory in 200m at the World Championships.

The 23-year-old, who won silver in the 100m, was the outstanding favourite and outclassed the field to take gold in a British record of 21.88 seconds.

"I'm lost for words. I dreamed of this and now it's real," she told BBC Sport. "I don't think it's properly sunk in."

Brittany Brown took silver (22.22) and Swiss Mujinga Kambundji bronze (22.51).

Asher-Smith is also the first Briton to win a world or Olympic sprint title since Linford Christie at Stuttgart 1993.

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

"[My coach] John [Blackie] and I knew I could do it, it means so much."

There was no light show as seen in some other showpiece finals here in Doha, but instead a loud cheer greeted Asher-Smith as she smiled on her way to her starting blocks.

The race itself was a formality. Asher-Smith came off the bend with her nose in front before powering away from the rest of the pack in the final 60m.

Like on the celebration lap following the women's 100m final there were rows of empty seats in the Khalifa Stadium but Asher-Smith, who paraded the flag after winning silver on Sunday, enjoyed her victory with a large British contingent. There were also tears as she embraced her mother Julie.

Many had already placed the gold medal around the European champion's neck after the pre-event withdrawal of 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce followed by that of fellow Jamaican and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson. And before the championships Bahamas' Shaunae Miller-Uibo, unbeaten in the 200m this season, opted only to run in the 400m because of the tight scheduling.

But bar the Bahamian, Asher-Smith had got the better of her other rivals during the Diamond League season. The lack of competition simply made the task easier for the Kent athlete.

Another world medal to come? And what about the Olympics?

It has been a tremendous six-year period for the Briton between winning the European youth 200m title in 2013 to becoming the senior world champion in Doha.

By her side since the age of eight has been coach John Blackie, who had spotted her potential at the Blackheath and Bromley Athletics Club.

Their partnership has produced junior titles at European and world level before she stole the show at the 2018 European championships by winning three titles.

Asher-Smith remains Britain's sole medallist in Doha with two, although that again might become three with the 4x100m relay team looking to add to the Euro title won in Berlin last year.

Her success here, however, is a stepping stone to her ultimate aim, which is Olympic success at Tokyo 2020.

Sydney 2000 heptathlon champion Denise Lewis has been following Asher-Smith's progress for several years now.

Lewis said the sprinter will not have to work on too much during the off-season, although she did not want to speculate whether the Briton could replicate her feats in Doha.

"If I had a crystal ball I'd give you answer," she said.

"The Olympics aren't that far away. Athletes have a well-deserved break then it's game on again - they'll be thinking of training in December.

"How can she do? She can do very well. There's no reason to think she can't be top three again. We can't hang medals around athletes' necks.

"She still has to go there and do it - she has to maintain a healthy status and that's most important thing."

'She has realised her full potential' - Reaction

BBC Sport athletics commentator Steve Cram: "She has dazzled everyone all year and she has done it again. She ran a superb race. She has planned it so well, her whole season gearing towards this moment."

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson on BBC TV: "It's Dina's attitude [that has taken her to the next level]. She has taken every year to learn and to get better. Not just from a technical aspect, training or race standpoint. She is very careful how she handles her career and how she gets the most out of this potential.

"She makes it her responsibility. She has realised her full potential."

Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis on BBC TV: "She has managed to unlock the formula. Many have come and tried but not been able to do this, two global medals.

"She has broken the American dominance and the Jamaican stranglehold on this competition."


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