Dina Asher-Smith has Linford Christie aura, says GB head coach Christian Malcolm
World 200 metres champion Asher-Smith begins her Tokyo campaign in the 100m heats on the opening morning of the athletics on Friday.
Asher-Smith will also run in the 200m and 4x100m next week in her quest to become the first female British sprinter to win an individual Olympic medal since Dorothy Hyman won 100m silver and 200m bronze in 1960.
Christie took the 100m title in Barcelona in 1992 and Malcolm sees similar characteristics in Asher-Smith.
“The one thing about Dina is that she’s built up an aura of being able to win. It’s going to be incredibly competitive in Tokyo,” he said.
“One thing we all know about Dina is she knows how to turn up at the championships. She saw it in Gateshead, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was there, Sha’Carri Richardson was there.
“A lot of the top girls were there and she was able to put one over on them. They will always have that at the back of their minds. It reminds me a little bit of Linford back in the day.
“Linford didn’t always run the fastest times but he would always be competitive and able to beat these top guys when it mattered. I feel that Dina has that aura too.”
Asher-Smith holds the British records for the 100m – 10.83 seconds – and 200m – 21.88 seconds – and has conceded she will need to set new personal bests to take either title in Tokyo.
Malcolm has backed her to break her own marks at the Olympic Stadium but also knows it is necessary for victory.
He said: “I think she will. It’s going to take that. She is going to have to break her personal best if she wants to be on top of the podium.
“Dina knows she’s more than capable of doing that. I’m actually quite excited. I really want to watch the women’s 100m because yes, it’s all about the flat speed, but it’s all about the mentality as well.
“We know Dina has got a great head on her shoulders. We know Shelly-Ann has as well. But do the rest of the girls?”