September 25, 2021

Dina Asher-Smith WINS 200m World Athletics gold for Britain in front of another sparse crowd in Doha

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Dina Asher-Smith clinched a historic gold medal after powering to 200m victory at the World Championships with a national record – amid an ongoing row about attendances in Doha that saw Lord Coe slam the BBC and Gabby Logan for criticism of the spare crowds.

A jubilant Asher-Smith – who became the first British woman to win an individual world sprint title – waved to the crowd while holding the GB flag and then embraced her mother, Julie Asher-Smith, after the stunning victory.

The 23-year-old clocked in a blistering 21.88 seconds in the race and becomes just the seventh woman to claim world gold, and adds to her silver medal she picked up on Sunday in the 100m. 

After the race, a tearful Asher-Smith said: ‘I know I was tired and woke up today knowing this was the last individual chance and this was the moment I did all my work for. This is what we knew we could achieve if the season went well and the tiredness just disappeared when I needed it to.

‘It means so much. There’s so many British fans here and I know lots of Brits live in Doha but lots have travelled and for my mum to be here, my dad, John and his wife and my physios – it means so much.

‘Normally I’m quite chatty and full of energy but it’s a different thing with everyone saying you’re the favourite but it’s a different thing going and doing it.

‘You’re only the favourite if you go out and perform how people expect you to and I was really focused on putting together a good race. I dreamt of this but now it’s real.’  

Her spectacular victory comes amid an ongoing row between Sebastian Coe and the BBC after the IAAF president criticised Gabby Logan.

A jubilant Asher-Smith – who became the first British woman to win an individual world sprint title – waved to the crowd while holding the GB flag

The 23-year-old became the first British woman to win an individual world sprint title. The 23-year-old also bagged a new national record after clocking 21.88 seconds in the race

 A thrilled Asher-Smith holds the GB flag aloft as she celebrates her historic victory in Doha in a blistering 21.88 seconds

A smiling Asher-Smith who has had a very successful World Championship’s after securing a silver she won in the 100 metres

Asher-Smith is overwhelmed with the enormity of her tremendous victory while her mother puts a 

A joyful Asher-Smith embraces her mother as the crowd cheers on her historic victory in a blistering 21.88 seconds, a new national record

Dina Asher-Smith celebrates after winning the Women’s 200m final during day six of the IAAF World Championships

A smiling Dina Asher-Smith (second on the left) is congratulated after winning the Women’s 200m final in Doha

Asher-Smith took the corner brilliantly and then powered home to take the gold medal in the women’s 200m final

Dina Asher-Smith leads on her way to winning the Women’s 200m final. Her spectacular victory comes amid an ongoing row between Sebastian Coe and the BBC after the IAAF president criticised Gabby Logan

A beaming Asher-Smith brings home gold for team GB at the World Championships in Doha after also securing a silver medal in the 100m

Asher-Smith fell to her knees after she made history and became the first British woman to win an individual world sprint title

The World Championships in Doha have been strongly criticised for sparse crowds and today a number of seats were empty

Dina Asher-Smith with her coach John Blackie (right) and mum Julie Asher-Smith (left) after winning the Women’s 200m final

Dina Asher-Smith crosses the line and glances to the side (left) to see if she has secured victory. And after the race celebrates with the GB flag (right) 

Coe has been unimpressed with the coverage of the World Championships in Doha, which have drawn reasonable and widespread flak for poor crowds and the scorching conditions.

Coe said on Wednesday: ‘It’s very easy to sit there and make all sorts of Gabby Logan-type judgments over three or four days and clear off back to Match of the Day.

‘But it’s really important that we see the long-term development of our sport. That’s not going to be done because we have challenges over ticketing in a stadium for three days.

‘The problem I’ve got with that is it’s the way our sport is being portrayed by some of the people in that (BBC) studio.

‘I’ve got people, whose judgment I do trust who are saying it would be great if a one minute 42.4 second run and some great performances were being dissected.

‘It’s (the crowd) an easier subject to talk about rather than some of the more insightful stuff around the events. I accept that, that’s the world we live in.’

Lineker took to social media to defend Logan. He tweeted: ‘Picking the wrong target in @GabbyLogan. She’s just doing her job…brilliantly as always. Maybe look closer to home.’

Coe went on the defensive after prolonged criticism of the Championships, which started last Friday. Among the more damning remarks the decathlon world champion Kevin Mayer called the staging of the event in Qatar a ‘disaster’.

Julie Asher-Smith, Dina’s mother, takes pictures in the stands after the Women’s 200m final during day six of the IAAF World Championships

Dina Asher-Smith reacts after winning the Women’s 200m final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships at the Khalifa International stadium in Doha

A tearful Dina-Asher Smith is surrounded by her competitors and adds to her medal haul in Doha after securing a 100m silver 

Coe has been unimpressed with the coverage of the World Championships in Doha, which have drawn reasonable and widespread flak for poor crowds and the scorching conditions

A general view of empty seats in the stands during the 400m Men’s decathlon on day six of the IAAF World Championships

Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith with her coach John Blackie after winning the Women’s 200m final during day six of the IAAF World Championships

World Champion: Dina Asher-Smith looked joyful as she celebrated her spectacular victory in the World Championships in Doha 

 Earlier, Laura Muir safely qualified for Thursday’s 1500m semi-final after her return from injury.

The 26-year-old was running her first competitive race since tearing a calf muscle at the Anniversary Games in London in July.

The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan qualified fastest, with Hassan coached by Alberto Salazar.

The America was given a four-year ban on Tuesday by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after being found guilty of doping violations.

Salazar runs the Nike Oregon Project and was stripped of his accreditation so could not have any contact with his athletes but Muir chose to ignore the controversy.

‘All I can do I focus on myself, that’s all I’m in control of. I love the sport for what it is, I love to run and compete,’ she said.

‘No matter what the circumstances I’m going to race. Whoever is there is up to other people.

‘At this point all I can do is focus on myself, that’s all I’m in control of. I’m the only person I can speak for and vouch for.’

On her fitness Muir added: ‘It was a pretty good feeling, I was quite nervous before the race.

‘I’m usually not for the heats but it’s just been so long and it’s so good to be out there, feel like myself and be like ‘oh, I can still run’.’

Sarah McDonald joined her in the final but there was disappointment for Tim Duckworth who pulled out of the decathlon after an injury in the warm up.

Reigning World Indoor 60m champion Andy Pozzi failed to progress to the 110m hurdles final but Eilish McColgan and Laura Weightman reached the 5000m final.

Dina in Dreamland: Asher-Smith storms home to become Britain’s first female world sprint champion

by RIATH AL-SAMARRAI. Athletics Correspondent in Doha

Out of the sandstorm of a quite miserable World Championships came a magnificent ray of red, white and blue light.

One at a time, the seven women who had strained to stay in its glow faded into the dark until Dina Asher-Smith was all alone, a British woman on top of the world.

And so she went for a little dance. She danced on the track, she danced to the stands and then she danced her way back with a Union flag.

A 200 metres gold medal for her, a gold medal for her country and a golden cloak for a team and organisation that has found itself coated in something far more mucky in the past 48 hours.

A 200 metres gold medal for her, a gold medal for her country and a golden cloak for a team and organisation that has found itself coated in something far more mucky in the past 48 hours

The 23-year-old Brit obliterated the field to win in a national record 21.88sec, finishing 0.34sec clear of American sprinter Brittany Brown and third-placed Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland.

After adding gold to the 100m silver she won on Sunday, Asher-Smith is targeting a hat-trick of medals in the 4x100m relay, and beyond that success at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Holding back tears last night, she said: ‘I am getting all emotional. This means a lot. I am really happy. I will enjoy this one and use it as motivation to get into the big one next year.’

Two years ago, at the previous World Championships staged in her home city of London, Asher-Smith had placed fourth. But she and her coach, John Blackie, never lost faith. ‘My coach and I knew I could do it,’ she said.

‘Normally I am so chatty and full of energy, but I am lost for words. Everyone said, “You are the favourite”, but you still have to go and do it and you have to perform. I was focused on that. I have dreamt of this and now it’s real.’

For the embattled souls at UK Athletics, the national governing body, this will come as a shiny relief. The Alberto Salazar mess will not be easily cleaned, but for now, maybe only for a night or two, they can celebrate a world-beater in British colours.

Some perspective at this point: this was not an Olympic-class final. Indeed, the joke was that Asher-Smith could transport an egg on a spoon with both feet in a sack and still beat those runners lined up against her with a half-decent dip.

But there are no explanations carved into gold medals. And now Britain has one, a first for these championships and a first in history for any of their female short-range sprinters. Across 100m and 200m, at an Olympics or a World Championships, it had never happened before.

On Sunday, with her 100m silver, she had become Britain’s first female medallist at the distance since 1960. Here she broke new ground entirely.

The bare detail of the race is this: they were beaten by the bend. From the blocks Asher-Smith was out quickest and the gap only grew, through those first two steps that accelerate a sprinter to 50 per cent of their top speed, through the tricky, balance-test of a drive phase around the corner and finally through the straight run for home. By the time she was done, she had gone from A to B 0.01sec quicker than the national record she had set in winning European gold last summer.

The margin to second? Brown took silver with a personal best of 22.22sec and Kambundji of Switzerland was third in 22.51.

This cemented beyond doubt Asher-Smith’s position as the leading lady of British sport. She burst into tears as she tried to explain it. And they flowed more heavily when she spotted her mother Julie.

‘This means so much. I was tired because it has been a long champs, but I woke up today thinking, “This is it”. Suddenly the tiredness disappeared.’

It will obviously be far more difficult in Tokyo next year. Asher-Smith knows that, and so does everyone else. In truth, a woman who had no need for luck found plenty in the desert, such was the incredible misfortune to befall the world’s other elite sprinters.

It started with Shaunae Miller-Uibo being told the schedule would not permit her to run both the 200 and 400m.

Given she is the Olympic champion at the latter, she skipped the former, in which she is unbeaten. She is used to trailing the smaller Asher-Smith off a bend, but she almost always gets to the line first.

Irrespective, that still left a world-class field until, in some kind of order, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce opted against running and Dafne Schippers, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Blessing Okagbare fell to a mixture of injuries and disqualification.

By the semi-finals, only the Olympic champion Elaine Thompson stood as a serious obstacle. And then she withdrew with an Achilles problem.

But what was it Arnold Palmer used to say? ‘The more I practice, the luckier I get.’ Asher-Smith deserves a gold without caveats. And she has one, a star like no other in a team that badly needed one.

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