Dina Asher-Smith beats Shericka Jackson to win Birmingham Diamond League 100m

By Mike HensonBBC Sport at Alexander Stadium

Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith saw off a high-quality field to win her first 100m outing of the season at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting.

The 26-year-old got off to a fast start and held Tokyo bronze medallist Shericka Jackson at bay in the final 20 metres to win in 11.11 seconds.

Fellow Briton Daryll Neita was third in 11.14, with American 200m specialist Gabby Thomas down in fifth.

Asher-Smith's time, in a 0.1m/s headwind, was well off her 10.83 best.

However, her powerful, clean getaway from the blocks bodes well as she builds up to a season in which she will attempt to improve on her world silver from 2019 and defend her European title in the event.

"It was good for my first 100m of the season," she told BBC Sport.

"I could have done a few things differently if I'm being picky but I'm very happy with the time and to win in this temperature and against this kind of field.

"We're targeting the World Championships but also to perform at all three championships this summer, so you have to ease into it.

"I will take that for an opener although I'm sure my coach will come to me with about a million and one corrections on Monday!"

Asher-Smith and Neita returned later to help Great Britain win the women's 4x100m relay by a huge margin and give the home fans at Alexander Stadium another victory to enjoy.

Earlier in the day Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir produced a typically ruthless piece of front-running to win the 1500m, taking the pace out along with Jessica Hull before edging away from the Australian over the final lap to win in four minutes 2.81 seconds, with Kenya's Winny Chebet third and Ireland's Ciara Mageean fourth.

"I am looking forward to getting my first sub-four this year but happy to nail the World Championships standard early in the season," said the Scot.

"I want to do all three championships this year.

"There were no natural frontrunners in the race so I thought I needed to be prepared to take it out."

Muir's training partner Jemma Reekie was fifth.

Keely Hodgkinson looked fully recovered from the quad injury that forced her out of the World Indoor Championships earlier this year as she strode clear of the field in impressive style in the 800m.

Her winning time of 1:58.63 is the fourth fastest in the world this year, although a tougher test is in store next weekend when she resumes her rivalry with American Olympic champion Athing Mu at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

"It's still early days but it's exciting," Hodgkinson said of her performance.

"It's a confidence booster and I want to build on it with two months to go before the World Championships.

"I am heading to Prefontaine now and expecting a big battle but it will be a great experience for me."

Tokyo bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw faltered in the pole vault, failing to clear her opening height of 4.45m. American Sandi Morris, who finished one place ahead of Bradshaw at the Olympics, won the competition with a best of 4.73m.

World heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson landed her best long jump performance since 2020, with an effort of 6.41m before confirming that she would participate in the the prestigious Gotzis multi-event meeting next weekend.

"There's a lot to be positive about," said Johnson-Thompson, who swapped training bases from France to Florida recently.

Competing against event specialists, she was well short of Germany's world and Olympic champion Malaika Mihambo who won with 7.09m. Lorraine Ugen was the best of the Britons with a season's best of 6.65m.

US-based Matthew Hudson-Smith enjoyed his return to the Midlands as he continued his promising start to the season with a convincing 400m win in 45.32 seconds.

"It is everything for me this year. It is my home town, my club, a new stadium and a home (Commonwealth) Games so I really want it to be my year," he said.

Olympic medallist Josh Kerr, another British athlete to cross the Atlantic from their American training base, was down in fifth in a 1500m won by Kenya's Abel Kipsang.

The men's 100m field was robbed of two of its main draws as Britain's Zharnel Hughes repeated the false start that cost him a place in last year's Olympic final, after American Trayvon Bromell - the fastest man in the world last year - had been disqualified for the same thing.

In their absence, Canada's Aaron Brown won in 10.13 seconds with the British trio of Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Adam Gemili and Reece Prescod well off the pace.

Jessica Judd, who secured her place at the World Championships over 10,000m last weekend, improved her 5,000m personal best by almost nine seconds, finishing fifth behind winner Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia.

Nathan Maguire and Hannah Cockcroft secured wheelchair wins over 800m and 400m respectively with Sophie Hahn and Thomas Young taking 100m victories.

New season, new stadium

The renovated Alexander Stadium is key to top-class international athletics' future in the UK.

UK Athletics is reported to be negotiating a settlementexternal-link to surrender its rights to host annual events at London Stadium, a 50-year arrangement struck in 2013.

Alexander Stadium
The Alexander Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games as well as the event's track and field action

At Friday's pre-meet media conference, Olympic bronze medallist Bradshaw claimed the Birmingham venue was the "most beautiful" in the UK, surpassing London 2012's flagship facility.

Plenty more praise followed.

"Amazing," said six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir. "It felt so good," said Rio 2016 champion Dalilah Muhammad as she stepped off the track.

It should feel even better by July's Commonwealth Games. Saturday's Diamond League was its first major event with just under 16,000 fans in the stands. By the time of the Commonwealth Games, the capacity will double, albeit temporarily, to 32,000.

Whether a retreat from London and the associated pay-off helps or hinders the long-term growth of the sport in the UK will take longer to judge.

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