World sprint relay champion is sure his club-mate and compatriot can shine in the Doha spotlight
Adam Gemili has been thrilled to see the rise of Dina Asher-Smith and believes his ‘little sister’ is more than capable of taking on the world in Doha.
The Blackheath & Bromley sprinters have known each other since Gemili first started out in the sport. Switching his football boots for spikes, he joined Asher-Smith and her coach John Blackie for some sessions at Norman Park in the early days and describes what she has gone on to achieve as “phenomenal”.
“Big Brother” was looking after “Little Sister” on Derby in 2012 pic.twitter.com/ZA752xHwj1
— Fotoccompli (@fotoccompli) September 29, 2019
After European domination in Berlin last summer and some superb performances this season including a 100m Diamond League win, Gemili knows that there is a certain level of expectation when it comes to what Asher-Smith might achieve at the IAAF World Championships, but the Olympic fourth-placer believes it is nothing she cannot handle.
“Everyone is always obviously putting pressure on her but I don’t feel like she feels that pressure,” says Gemili, who, like Asher-Smith, is set to race the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in Doha. “She races the same whether it is an Olympic final or a women’s league at Norman Park – you know what you’re going to get from her.
“The question is, how fast is she going to go?” he adds. “It’s going to be fast and I’m just so proud of her and excited to see her really go and hopefully win her first medal individually. I won’t tell her that, because it’s never nice to have ‘you’re going to win, you’re going to win’, but I think everyone, and she knows it herself, has that expectation that if she goes and executes, there’s not many women in the world at the moment that can roll with her.”
Indeed, the four-page feature on Asher-Smith in the latest AW magazine, of which she is the cover star, explains how the 23-year-old is embracing expectation.
“Some people would get really overwhelmed but, for me, I think it’s nice in all honesty for them (the fans) to think that I can go on to do great things,” said Asher-Smith, who gets her world championships campaign under way on Saturday afternoon by racing in the 100m heats.
“I’ve actually used some of their expectations to give me more confidence as well because sometimes I do tell myself, ‘you can’t, you can’t’, when really I should be thinking, ‘I can’. So I have taken some of other people’s energy and put it into myself as well.”
Winning the 100m Diamond League trophy with a time just three hundredths outside her British record of 10.85 and being ranked third in the entry lists in both that event and in the 200m with 22.08 is bound to have got fans excited but, whatever Asher-Smith goes on to achieve in Doha, Gemili is sure to have been cheering her all the way.
“She’s like my little sister,” he says. “To see her pushing on, what she has done now, is just phenomenal.”
Check out the dedicated Doha 2019 section on our website here.