How Dina Asher-Smith became the best 200m sprinter in the world

Dina Asher-Smith is the current 200m Diamond League champion (PA Images)
Dina Asher-Smith is the current 200m Diamond League champion (PA Images)
21:38pm, Wed 02 Oct 2019
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Dina Asher-Smith's status as British Athletics' golden girl has been confirmed after winning the 200m gold medal in the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Her time of 21.88 seconds is now her personal best and the new British record in a race she utterly dominated from start to finish.

Going into the race, she was expected to win not only because some of her rivals were absent, but also because of her number one ranking in the distance this season and her tremendous form.

So, what has made Britain's new golden girl of athletics the best in the world at 200m and what has her journey in the distance been like? We take a look at the statistics behind the biggest moment of her career.

200m was always going to be her calling

Asher-Smith first shot to fame by becoming the youngest athlete selected in the Team GB squad for the world championships in 2013. While she was initially part of the 4x100m relay team, it was always the 200m distance that was her strength.

Her first record-breaking achievement was in the 100m in Hengelo in 2015, as she made a new British record with a time of 11.02 seconds. But it was the 200m where she made a name on the world stage, with a fifth place finish in the 2015 world championships in Beijing.

As can be seen, Asher-Smith's times have got faster year on year

Her dominance at 200m has a lot to do with her  ability to get off to an incredible start - something she achieves so often and repeated again tonight. Typically, off the block, athletes are not immediately at 100% pace, but Asher-Smith gets very close due to her strength in the core and legs.

Her relatively low centre of gravity gives her the ability to keep her balance on the bend and really attack the home straight. All her focus and force is directed towards the finish line, resulting in no loss of energy.

Setbacks have only strengthened the resolve

For all the talk of the remarkable rise, there have been setbacks for Asher-Smith that she has had to overcome. Injuries and disappointments have punctuated her journey.

Initially, she had the tendency of not performing at her best level when it mattered most, ie in the finals. This was more pronounced in the 100m distance, but she did go through a streak of three straight events when she performed better in the 200m heats compared to the final. But between August 2015 and May 2019, she did not do that once.

Added to her learning about peaking at the right time, Asher-Smith's foot injury in early 2017 was a difficult moment she had to overcome. She still somehow managed to finish fourth in the 200m final of the world championships a few months later.

She commented at the time: “Arguably, this has probably done more for me in the long term mentally and showing me what I can do and what I can overcome than maybe having an easy season and getting a medal would have."

Her time to shine is now

With Doha proving to be a breakout moment for her, the focus will now switch towards the Olympic Games next year to see if she can take this level of performance to the ultimate stage.

A lot will depend on her competitors. One wonders how long Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will go on in the 100m, but Dafne Schippers and Blessing Okagbare will continue to be a threat.

But with Asher-Smith still only 23, her best years could still be ahead of her - with many more golden moments awaiting.

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