Dina Asher-Smith admitted she had “obliterated her expectations” after making history in Berlin. She has become the first British woman to complete a European sprint double in dazzling fashion.
The 22-year-old had already become the fastest 100m runner in the world this year when destroying the field to claim gold at the European Championships. She replicated that feat over 200m on Saturday 11 August.
Coming in as the quickest qualifier despite easing down in the semi-finals, Asher-Smith set off like a bullet in the final. She held off Holland’s Dafne Schippers, who has won the last two world 200m titles. Dina triumphed with a huge new British record 21.89sec.
By way of comparison, no other woman anywhere in the world has dipped below 22 seconds this year. Now, Asher-Smith really is in a league of her own.
Schippers finished strongly to take silver in 22.14sec, with fellow Dutchwoman Jamile Samuel third.
“I knew I had to go like a bat out of hell because [Schippers] was coming for me and there was no way she was going to let me win this,” said Asher-Smith. “I had the fear of God inside me. I just wanted to win.”
Incredibly, that may not be the end of Asher-Smith’s medal haul in Berlin. On Sunday evening, she will attempt to complete an unprecedented treble when she joins her British team-mates as favourites for 4x100m gold, although she is taking nothing for granted.
“The reason we love relays is the same reason we love the hurdles – you don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “We’re going to try our best but the Dutch are the reigning champions, and the Swiss and the Germans won’t be looking to let anyone win the gold easily.”
“She is absolutely now one of the best in the world,” said four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson.
There is unlikely to be ‘another Usain Bolt’ in this generation, but at these championships Dina Asher- Smith showed she has the potential to be among a group of athletes who can usher in a new era for the sport.