“A happy Dina is a fast Dina" - Asher-Smith sets sights on 200m and 4x100m

Dina Asher-Smith
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Dina Asher-Smith at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships

After having her preparations for last season’s home World Championships severely undermined by a freak training accident that left her with a broken foot, this 22-year-old history graduate from King’s College, London, who seems to have electricity running through her both on and off the track, has resumed pursuit of her ambitions with intensity.

And the next goals are the women’s 200m which starts on Friday, followed by Sunday’s 4x100m final.

That will bring her back into competition with the powerful Dutch athlete whose defence of the women’s 100m title ended with bronze in a time of 10.99 last night: Dafne Schippers.

Until this race. Schippers had beaten the Brit in every major championship final they had contested since the 2014 European Championships in Zurich up to last year’s World Championships in London.

Now the 200m re-match between the Dutch two-time world champion and rising British talent is looking even more of a fascinating prospect. Not that Asher-Smith is thinking Schippers will be her only competition.

“I’m going to let myself enjoy the emotional high but then refocus,” she said in the aftermath of her 100m win.

“For the 200 I’m going to take it like another championship. It’s a completely clean slate because I’m only one third of the way there. You never know what those girls are going to bring, some of them haven’t run the 100m, so you’re just going to have to wait and see.”

Schippers, meanwhile, appeared to be taking things in her usual steady fashion as she reflected upon her bronze medal.

“A medal counts so I am happy for it,” she said. “And this was also my best race of the season so I am glad. The medal is always OK. Coming as the defending champion, I did not feel the pressure. All the girls are very strong and I think the level of the sprints in Europe is rising.”

Asher-Smith’s time matched that run by Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou in winning the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha.

It is clear as she talks – as swiftly as she runs – that behind the vivacity there lies a thoughtful and highly competitive character.

“For me, I’ve worked out over the years, I have to be chilled to run well,” she said.

“Some people they have to be really serious, really committed and focused, some people have to be like nervous and kind of scared, but for me I just have to be happy.

“I have to be in a good mood. So I’m listening to my favourite music, having a bit of a dance, chilled out. I found out from London last year, just trial and error, that a happy and relaxed Dina is a fast Dina.”

When it was put to her that the 200m - in which she finished fourth at last year’s World Championships - may turn out to be her best event, she responded: “Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see! I know I’ve got things to work on in the 200, I haven’t run as many this year as the 100, because I wanted to work on the 100 and get my confidence over that distance this year – 10.85 I did that! Very happy about that!

“But now I’m going to go and see what I can do over the 200.”