Dina Asher-Smith ignores agony as she targets three gold medals at World Athletics Championships
DINA ASHER–SMITH has been running through the pain barrier for TWO YEARS as she tries to become the new Queen of Speed.
The British Athletics poster-girl will attempt to win medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, which starts tomorrow.
It is a feat she achieved at European level in Berlin last summer and she is hotly tipped, in the absence of Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo, to become world 200m champion.
The 23-year-old, yet to win a global individual medal, has been preparing intensely for the Road to Qatar with demanding coach John Blackie.
And she admits it has been a hard, physically-draining journey period.
Asher–Smith revealed: “We have been preparing for a very, very long time – and it has been painful!
“John has been testing me. When he tells me you are doing this today, I’m like: ‘What?!’ He’ll say: ‘I’m sure you can do it’. And I respond: ‘Well you are, but what about me?’
“We’ve been preparing and that’s why the decision to double up isn’t one that I’ve taken lightly, it’s not a flippant decision.
“It’s something we have been working towards for the past two years.
“John has been putting me through my paces for a very long time to prepare for this.
“When we came off London in 2017 and went into training for 2018, we made the decision that at the next World Championships I’d double-up.
“That’s the time period you need to build up the strength to be able to put together six elite standard sprint races in one championships.
“And then recover and be mentally and physically ready for the relay.”
The world champs usually take place in August but have been pushed back a month because of the extreme 38-degree heat in Qatar – there are no morning sessions over the 10 days of action.
Britain’s fastest woman has been in top form this year, mixing it with the world’s best sprinters.
Asher–Smith says many critics doubted whether she would have the capacity or experience to perform so late into the calendar year.
The Londoner said: “I’ve been saying I’m going to peak in September and early in the year people didn’t believe me.
“It’s our job to perform when the cameras are on at the world championships and Olympic Games.
“I’ve this thing in my training group when I’m getting ready to race, and they say: ‘Who are you racing?’ I reply: ‘Everybody, everybody.’
“That idea of whenever I go into a race I’ve to bring my A game when the gun goes.
“No excuses. Run as fast as you can and you deal with the result.
“I’ve had to deal with either being behind and having to try and come back or being in front and having to try and maintain form.”
Asher–Smith will embark on her first race on Saturday afternoon in the women’s 100m heats with the final taking place on Sunday. The 200m begins on Monday.
Whatever happens in the Middle East over the next two weeks, Asher–Smith says there is no hiding place for bad displays.
She added: “The World Championships are going to be the first time where we see everybody with nowhere to hide.
“No case of: ‘I wasn’t ready for this, I wasn’t ready for that.’
“Because if you aren’t ready for the World Championships, when are you ready?
“You can always try and predict these things but that’s why I love track-and-field. It’s so hard, hand on heart, to predict races.
“To be among the top women in the world still blows all of our minds.
“It’s something I still want to push on and I still want to do better and I want to come away and be the best.”