This is Witness the Wonder, the Preview to the 2023 World Champs in Budapest for Day 29, May 16, 2023.
For the next 16 days, RunBlogRun will be posting a story a day on the buildup to the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19-August 27, 2023.
Today, we will speak about one of my favorite athletes, Dina Asher-Smith.
Dina Asher-Smith just opened her 2023 season with a good third place in the hot Women’s 100 meters in Doha Diamond League.
This writer spoke with Dina Asher-Smith, the 2019 World Champion at the 200 meters in Doha (21.88), who also took the silver at the 100 meters in 2019 (10.83 NR).
World Athletics Championships
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Dina Asher-Smith is one of the most experienced sprinters in British Athletics. She is fast, smart, and enduring. Like all sprinters, Dina has had challenges with injuries. The delayed 2021 Tokyo Olympics was a nightmare for Ms. Asher-Smith, but she was able to get over her hamstring injury, which occurred during the 2021 British Trials; Dina Asher-Smith was able to run the British 4x100m and help the team take the Olympic bronze, adding to her 2016 Olympic bronze at the 4×100 meters.
The level of excellence in women’s sprinting is at an all-time high. There is absolutely no room for error, and Dina Asher-Smith knows that. So does her coach, John Blackie, who has coached Dina since she was nine years old.
Dina Asher-Smith knows that she has to be in perfect shape and have a perfect mindset to compete against the best in the world. The young Briton is well-educated, focused, and thoughtful. In my short chats with Dina since 2013, I have found her to be one of the most captivating athletes on the world scene. She knows what is expected of her, she realizes how hard she has to train, and that for her to improve on her NRs, she has to have the ‘perfect storm,’ a day where everything comes in place. Her interviews are flawless, and her competitions in the United KIngdom make her one of the most popular athletes in British Athletics.
Dina Asher-Smith, 200 meters, WC 2022, photo by Kevin Morris
In 2022, Dina Asher-Smith took 4th in a highly contested 100 meters in Eugene for the World Championships, equalling the British NR of 10.83. Her thoughts about the 100 meters are pretty clear; this is what she noted to the media assembled post-race in the World Championships:
“I did a good race. I am happy to equal a PB for me, especially in a world final which means you execute when it really matters. I’m disappointed I didn’t get a medal and knew I was in the shape and I very nearly did. I definitely came looking to be on the podium. 200 it is. You had to run a 10.9 low to make the final which is crazy. Another other day you do that and people would say that’s a great performance but that would have not even gotten you into the final. The injury was a while ago but personally it’s been a tough couple of months for me and my family. We lost our grandma. I was running for the season and I was struggling indoors to know what I was doing, oh yeah I’m doing the 200 today. So psychologically it’s been a lot of work for me to focus. I’ve been in shape from the beginning but my brain has been elsewhere. From that, it’s been a good performance for me.
It’s great to be back in Eugene. The stadium looks so different. Honestly, this is an amazing experience to see the legacy of all the Oregon athletes built into the stadium. If we had something like this in London, if I was here, my heart would be so warm. I have amazing memories from Hayward Field. I won here. I was hoping to do the same this time, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
After the 100 meters, Dina Asher-Smith took the bronze medal in the 200 meters in 22.02. The British team did not have the same luck in the 4×100 meters in Eugene, where they took sixth.
Dina Asher-Smith, British Trials, by Getty Images for British Athletics
At the European Championships in August 2023, Dina took 8th in the 100 meters, with a cramp in her leg, silver in the 200 meters, and a rate DNF in the 4×100 meters.
2023 has started out well; Dina Asher-Smith equaled her 60m NR in 7.04 on January 23, 2023.
Dina Asher-Smith was third behind Sha’Carri Richardson (US), 10.76, Sherika Jackson, JAM, 10.85 and Dina, GB, 10.98. It is a good opening for Dina Asher-Smith, but to medal in Budapest, she must be in PB shape, like 10.76-10.80. In the 200 meters, it is going to be tough too, but this writer thinks that the longer she goes, the better Dina Asher-Smith does in racing.
Dina Asher-Smith doing publicity for British Athletics, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics,
The funny thing was that her agent, Ricky Simms, was teasing her about running the 400 meters, and she said absolutely not. But one wonders if this amazing athlete continues to give battle in the global sprint wars, with a venture into the full lap. For now, we will see her over 100 meters and 200 meters, and she will be more than in the medal hunt.
One final thought, when I did a short interview with Dina Asher-Smith in Doha, Qatar, I noted that she has done modeling, and she responded that she is really not interested in modeling but loves the creative process and is around creative people a lot. She was quite happy talking to me about creativity.
Dina Asher-Smith, along with her coach John Blackie, will have their job cut out to medal in Budapest and Paris, and I believe, with her great fitness level and her incredible focus, drive, and love of the challenges of global sprinting, Dina Asher-Smith will be on the podium once again.
Dina Asher-Smith has what it takes to medal in Budapest 2023. Watch for her there!
To read all of our earlier stories in Witness the Wonder, numbers 1-28: