Team GB’s gold medal hopeful Dina Asher-Smith was left in tears as she revealed she is going to pull out of the 200m at Tokyo 2020 after her failure to qualify for the 100m final. The decision comes as a result of a hamstring injury she picked up in the build-up to the Olympic Games.
There was great concern for the 25-year-old after she failed to qualify for the 100m final on Saturday. She recorded a time of 11.05 seconds in the semi-final heats, well short of her personal best of 10.83 and her season’s best of 10.91. The sprinter headed into the Games as one of Britain’s top track and field medal hopefuls, and the outcome was a huge blow for a sprinter who will have initially backed herself to challenge for both 100m and 200m gold.
After her failure to reach the 100m final, the 200m world champion revealed that it was a hamstring injury she picked up ahead of the Olympics which have dashed her chances of an Olympic gold for another three years. The injury could not have come at a worse time for the British sprinter who was about to hit her prime on the track.
“I am going to pull out of the 200m, [coach] John [Blackie] just had that conversation with me… As reigning world champion, you know that Olympic champion is not too much of a further step,” she told BBC Sport.
She then revealed how heartbroken she was, becoming overcome by emotion as she revealed the injury to her hamstring which have ruined her attempt at a historic Games return.
She said: “Obviously I’m so disappointed not to make the final because this is Tokyo 2020, it’s everything I’ve trained for for the past two years. But the last few weeks of my athlete life have been absolutely insane.
“I pulled out of both Stockholm and Gateshead because in the trials final, I actually pulled my hamstring at 60m. I tore it pretty bad and I was initially told in Manchester that it was a rupture and that I would require surgery and it would take three to four months to get back.”
The sprinter went and got a second opinion and found out that there was still a tear but not a rupture. With that slim glimmer of hope, Asher-Smith and Blackie worked hard to make Tokyo a reality.
“I thankfully went and got a second opinion and it was a slight misdiagnosis – even though there was still a tear, it wasn’t a rupture, my hamstring was still attached, so we turned over every single stone to make sure I could stand on the line.”
Dina added that she believed the injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time given how good she was feeling about her chances of performing.
“Obviously I was not my normal self but it has been quite a journey, so I’m really proud,” she added. “The most frustrating thing was I was in the shape of my life – and I can say that with my hand on my heart.”
The aim now will be to return to fitness and form in the coming months, but there will definitely be one eye already trained on Paris 2024, with a tilt at Olympic glory at the age of 28 still a very realistic target.