Dina Asher-Smith just sent a new British NR over the 60 meters, in a very tough European field, with Mujinga Kambundji and Ewa Swoboda in INIT Meeting Karlsruhe last Friday, January 27, 2023. This is Stuart’s piece on Dina Asher-Smith.
Dina is back!
It was great to see Dina Asher-Smith run 7.04 in Karlsruhe at the weekend, setting a new British record. Earlier in the week in Jablonec (Czech Republic), she had run 7.18 and 7.09 before her runs of 7.07 and 7.04 in Karlsruhe. She commented afterward: “I always love racing in Karlsruhe, and I’m so happy to come away with a PB and national record. I’ve had a really good winter, so I’ve been really excited to get back out there. The crowd helped me, 100%. The last time I was here it was in the middle of Covid and there was no crowd, so thank you to Germany for making this an incredible meet”.
The Women’s 200m at the 2022 World Champs, photo by World Athletics
I wouldn’t claim to know Dina well but I have seen her run over 100 times and had many conversations with her over the years. She was World Champion in Doha in 2019 but since then not much has gone according to plan. Winning the world title made her a favorite for the Olympic title but then the pandemic resulted in 2020 being cancelled. In Tokyo 2021, Dina was third in her semi and did not make the final, later withdrawing from the 200. In Tokyo, she explained that before the GB Olympic trials, she had been “in the shape of my life” but had felt a pull in her leg during the final of the trials in Birmingham. Initially, there was a possibility that she would miss the Olympics but treatment in Germany seemed to have resolved the issue and got her to Tokyo. After the 100m semi-final, she commented: “Obviously I am so disappointed not to make the final because it’s Tokyo 2020 like this is everything I’ve trained for, for the past two years”.
Dina Asher-Smith, 200 meters, WC 2022, photo by Kevin Morris
In 2022, at the Oregon World Championships, she was fourth in the 100m (10.83) and fourth in the 200 (22.02). In the Oregon semi, she ran 21.96, her only sub-22 race of the season. On the 100 she said: “I’ve had a fantastic championship and I was really happy to have done the run that I did from lane 8, I really couldn’t fault it but I am so gutted that it didn’t get me on the podium. It was so close. It was a good run from me, a very good run from me, but unfortunately, it was 4th, but again the caliber of the final was amazing and it was hard to get in the final. I did good but I definitely came here hoping to get on the podium”.
Dina Asher-Smith, 100m, Muller, Brit Champs 2022 , photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
After the 200 she added: “I am so happy. The caliber of that final was insane. All those women are capable of running sub-22 and I don’t think we’ve ever been in a world final with that kind of talent. It’s been a great Championships for me; three 10.8s, 21.9, 22.0 – I don’t think I’ve ever run this succession of times in a major championship before. I’m just really pleased with how everything has gone. I’m so grateful to have a great team behind me as well”.
Mujinga Kambundji with Dina Asher-Smith, photo by European Athletics
In Munich at the European Championships, she had severe cramps in the 100 final, finishing eighth with a recorded time of 16.03, explaining: “I got cramp in my calves. I can’t be running on two cramping calves, which is crazy. I’m going to go back, have a chat with my recovery, have a chat with how I am hydrating, and stuff. I came out of the blocks feeling good. I am in good shape, which is why I am frustrated”.
Dina Asher-Smith, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
She recovered to take second place in the European Champs 200m in 22.43, behind Mujinga Kambundji, commenting: “I’m not super happy but Mujinga put together a better race. I thought I was, and I know I am in better shape than that but at the same time I came second so it is what it is”.
“As they say, one swallow does not make a summer – and in any case, it is just February! However, it is great to see Dina looking like Dina and preparing to challenge for medals in Budapest.”