The British 100m and 200m record-holder was emotional in the aftermath of her win at the British Championships
Dina Asher-Smith said the fear of suffering a heartbreaking four-year wait to compete at an Olympic Games drove her to victory in one of the most nerve-shredding races of her career so far at the British Championships.
Asher-Smith came out on top in the 200m at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday June 26, winning in a time of 23.11 as she held off late charges from Desiree Henry and Jodie Williams to confirm her selection on Team GB for the Rio Olympics.
The 20-year-old British record-holder in the 100m and 200m cried tears of joy in the immediate aftermath as she was overcome by the emotion at the realisation of a dream 12 years in the making.
“I don’t get emotional at all. When it comes to racing I’m very black and white. Do a job, go home,” said Asher-Smith, who finished fifth over the 200m at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing last year. “It’s not like the Worlds or Europeans which come round every two years. It’s every four years. If you don’t go to this one it’s a four-year wait. You saw that with Jess Ennis in 2008, she had to wait all that time.
“I think that’s partly why I’m so emotional right now. There’s always a fear with athletes that if you don’t make this team then there’s another four years to wait. You’re always thinking, ‘oh god I’ve got to make the team, I don’t want to cry.’ It’s definitely the fear of the unknown.”
The Blackheath & Bromley sprinter also paid tribute to her coach of 12 years, John Blackie, adding: “There have been moments where you think ‘can I do it?’ I’m so emotional because it’s also just been John’s hard work since I was eight years old.
“It’s just testament to John’s hard work. He’s been there every step of the way always believing in me always thinking I can run faster … John’s always said I can do it. Just to think all of our hard work for five or six days a week in a cold track all year round has culminated in us going to the Olympics. I’m absolutely overwhelmed.”
» Read more from Dina Asher-Smith in Athletics Weekly’s July 7 edition