200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith kicks off her bid for Olympic glory in the 100m playoffs this morning as all eyes turn to athletics.
And British Olympic champion Mark Lewis-Francis called on her to end Britain’s sprint medal drought and bring back gold from Tokyo.
The 25-year-old GB track captain is trying to become the first British woman to win a medal in one of the sprints since Dorothy Hyman won silver and bronze in 1960.
Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the favorite to add to her 100m titles in 2008 and 2012 with a time of 10.63 seconds, the fourth fastest time in history, just last month.
But Lewis-Francis, who anchored Great Britain to the gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the Athens Games in 2004, believes Asher-Smith will be up to the task on the biggest stage.
“She’s a championship artist,” Lewis-Francis said. “When she comes out, she puts everything on the table. She is an amazing athlete and an amazing person.
“If she goes out there and runs her perfect race, she can definitely win a gold medal. “
The GB team may struggle to match their seven track and field medals in Rio, but Lewis-Francis believes there are plenty of opportunities for success, especially in the form of the 800m hopeful and his compatriot. Birchfield Harrier Elliot Giles.
“We have a talented young team, a lot of athletes are expected to win medals, so my hopes are really high for them,” he added.
“They have good management, good coaches and with them able to concentrate on their events without any distractions because they had to isolate themselves, they will have time to think and time to put everything they have been doing over the last four or five years looking ahead and going out in the field and achieving their goals.
“There is a young Birchfield Harrier competing, Elliot Giles. He’s come a long way this season.
“I think he has the potential to go out there and do really well and embrace the Games. “
Sixty years of waiting
Since Dorothy Hyman won the 100m silver and 200m bronze in 1960, no Briton has finished on the podium in either event.
Dorothy Manley and Audrey Williamson, respectively silver medalists in the 100m and 200m in 1948, are the only other individual medalists in the country, while the women’s 4 × 100m relay brought Britain two silver medals. and six bronze in Olympic history.
Indeed, since Kathy Cook finished fourth in the 200m and Heather Oakes seventh in the 100m in 1984, even the British finalists are rare.
Asher-Smith finished fifth in the 200m in 2016, joining only Abi Oyepitan as a British finalist in that event since Cook’s race, while Jeanette Kwakye – sixth in 2008 – is the only British finalist in the 100m in the in the 37 years since Oakes.
Christine Ohuruogu won gold in the 400m in 2008 and silver in 2012, Katharine Merry in 2000 equaling Cook’s bronze in 1984 in that event. Ann Packer and Lilian Board won silver in 1964 and 1968 respectively.
Asher-Smith’s Medal Harvest
Asher-Smith contributed one of those Olympic medals in the relay, joining Asha Philip, Desiree Henry and Daryll Neita to finish third on her Olympic debut in Rio – four years after being a volunteer kit carrier in London 2012.
She had previously won bronze in the relay at the 2013 World Championships and silver in the 60m at the 2015 European Indoor Championships, but 2016 marked her true emergence as a force on the international stage.
That year’s European Championships earned him his first major gold, in the 200m, as well as silver in the relay – the latter feat matched at the 2017 World Championships.
After winning bronze in the 200m and gold in the relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she dominated that year’s European Championships with a triple gold in the 100m, 200m and relay.
Asher-Smith’s streak of success continued at the 2019 World Championships in Doha with British records of 21.88 seconds to win the 200m and 10.83 seconds in the 100m for one of his two medals. money, the other at the relay.
She was crowned Diamond League 100m champion the same year, winning the season final in Brussels in 10.88 seconds. She fell to less than three-hundredths of that on one of three runs in under 11 seconds this year and arrived in Tokyo with a season record in the 200m in 22.06 seconds.