World Athletics Championships Give Dina Asher-Smith A Chance To Return To The Top

It's been four years since she won gold in Doha
07:01, 17 Aug 2023

All eyes will turn to Budapest this weekend as the 2023 World Athletics Championships get underway. And for Great Britain, their leading lady will be back in action as Dina Asher-Smith returns to the track and attempts to win another gold medal. 

Four years ago in Doha she had her breakthrough moment. She ran away from the opposition in the 200m and at the age of 23, becoming the first British woman to win a major global sprint gold. 

That day in Qatar’s capital transformed Asher-Smith from European champion and young starlet into one of the world’s greatest sprinters. Britain heralded the arrival of a new hero and, with the Tokyo Olympics to come, there was a genuine belief that she could win the biggest prize of the lot. 

It didn’t quite work out that way. A combination of the Covid-19 pandemic which delayed the Games for a year and then a hamstring injury picked up in the British Championships meant that she came into the Games completely off colour. She didn’t even qualify for the 100m final and then pulled out of the 200m, but recovered to pick up a bronze in the relay at the end of the Olympics. 

Since becoming world junior champion in 2014, Asher-Smith has been the great sprinting hope for our nation. Now joined by Zharnel Hughes in competing for medals at the major events, Budapest will provide a key yardstick for the 27-year-old, who has big questions to answer. 

Is she the sprinter she once was? Can she ever win another World Championship gold? Will she be in top form when the Olympics come back around in 12 months time? Belief certainly isn’t an issue for the fastest British woman in history.


"I can't relate to the girl who won in Doha because I run differently," Asher-Smith told BBC Sport. "I'm stronger, faster, technically better and I'm more confident. But in terms of hunger, it's just the same. I am who I am."

She has the quality and experience to produce on the big stage, but her recent form at big championships hasn’t allowed her to run at her best. Last year’s postponed World Championships in Eugene was a tough one. The Londoner had just lost her grandmother, finished fourth in the 100m and took bronze in the 200m. In the relay she pulled her hamstring, which ruled her out of the Commonwealth Games, and then by the time the European Championships came around she had calf cramps caused by her period.

It’s been too long since Asher-Smith came into a competition at 100 per cent fitness. But all the signs heading to Budapest are that the British superstar can get back to her best. She certainly believes so. In truth, she needs these World Championships to be a success. With the world watching, she has to prove she has put those injury issues behind her and can still produce on the biggest stage. Success here would set her up for a crack at double gold in Paris next summer.

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