World Athletics Championships: Dina Asher-Smith makes history by winning 200m gold for Great Britain

Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain
Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain

British sporting history has been made in emphatic fashion as Dina Asher-Smith blazed further into global athletics stardom in Doha.

Hyped up as one of the undisputed future faces of the sport, the 23-year-old made a mockery of the pressure to become Team GB's first ever female sprinter to win a gold medal at world or Olympic level by leaving her rivals for dust with a national record time of 21.88 in the 200 metres.

She's now also the first British champion - male or female - over 200m at this same standard, joining former 100m kings Linford Christie (1992, 1993), Allan Wells (1980) and Harold Abrahams 1924 in an elite group of sprinting heroes.

The nation's newest sporting role model is also the seventh British woman to win an individual world title following on from Fatima Whitbread (1987), Liz McColgan (1991), Sally Gunnell (1993), Paula Radcliffe (2005), Christine Ohuruogu (2009, '13) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (2009, '11, '15).

The closest a British woman had previously got to becoming world or Olympic champion in either sprint event were the silver medals in the 1948 London Games (Dorothy Manley in the 100m and Audrey Williamson in the 200m) and 1960 Olympics (Dorothy Hyman in the 200m) while the best a female sprinter has ever done in the world championships was Kathy Cook's 200m bronze in the very first staging of 1983.

Asher-Smith's latest success was just three days after taking silver as Britain's first ever female representative in a World Championships 100m final behind the great Shelly-Anne Fraser Pryce so the excitement surrounding the possibility of an incredible Olympic double next year will crank up to new levels.

The Londoner is also the nation's first woman to win medals in two different events at a World Championships which is fitting considering she was inspired to start her journey into the sport when, aged just eight in Bromley, watching Dame Kelly Holmes complete an historic middle distance golden double at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Eight years later at London 2012, the fire to make it to the top burned even brighter during her role as a volunteer kit carrier at London 2012, while she arrived at her debut Olympics in Rio having already become world junior champion, European senior gold medalist over 200m and the first British woman ever to have broken the 11-second barrier in 100m.

She came back from Rio with a 4x100m bronze - a colour which she helped the team upgrade to silver in London 12 months later and finished fourth in the 200m despite recovering from a broken foot in February - before taking the limelight all on her own at last year's European Championships when becoming the first Briton to win the 100m, 200m and relay titles at a single major.

But tonight, she risen above even further above national and continental stardom.

With the 4x100m relay still to come this weekend, the re-writing of history has potentially not finished yet for Asher-Smith because no British athlete - male or female - has collected three medals at a single World Championships.

Last year's European and Commonwealth champion quartet, who took silver two years ago in London, have every chance of getting back on that podium if they get that baton round.

Considering how female British sprinters have struggled to make just a small imprint in the history books for over 90 years since they were first allowed to compete in athletics at the Olympics, it's quite remarkable how an athlete from these shores could make this success look so easy and nerve free.

America's Brittany Brown was a distant second with a personal best of 22.22 while Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland was third in 22.51.

Of course it's typical of the British media to feel compelled to mention the 'caveats' of this special landmark moment - namely that the world's fastest woman over this distance this year - Shaunae Miller-Uibo - opted to focus on the 400m while the likes of Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Dafne Schippers all pulled out at various stages.

But as we see so often in major sporting competition, it can be far tougher to deal with the expectation of being favourite and the weight of history beating down than it is to be the chasing underdog with precious little to loose.

Asher-Smith, who brilliantly defied all that aside in Berlin to win triple gold, did so on the second grandest stage of all, even if it was in front of a disappointingly sparse crowd at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Nevertheless, her moment in the spotlight will hopefully have been viewed by millions sat comfortably at home, including the next generation of inspired eight-year-old Asher-Smiths.

Asher-Smith said: "When I came fourth by a 10th of a second and almost did it he looked at me and said, 'the next one is going to be yours'.

"I said, 'we have to work towards it, we have to make sure that when I stand on the line in two years' time I'm in a position to do that'.

"It means so much to have done that in the 200m but to have gone well in the 100m, an event I have not run at this level before, to be up there with the best women in the world means so much to me.

"The Olympics is less than a year away, we have already been thinking about it. I don't think there's any time we're not thinking about the Olympics.

"Doing well in Doha was part of the plan and in thinking about Doha you're thinking about the Olympics as well.

"I know I was tired and woke up today knowing this was the last individual chance and this was the moment I did all my work for. This is what we knew we could achieve if the season went well and the tiredness just disappeared when I needed it to.

"It means so much. There's so many British fans here and I know lots of Brits live in Doha but lots have travelled and for my mum to be here, my dad, John and his wife and my physios - it means so much.

"Normally I'm quite chatty and full of energy but it's a different thing with everyone saying you're the favourite but it's a different thing going and doing it.

"You're only the favourite if you go out and perform how people expect you to and I was really focused on putting together a good race. I dreamt of this but now it's real."

Dina Asher-Smith's career path

2011 - Two golds at the Commonwealth Youth Games - in the 200m and 4x100m relay - were a big sign of her talent on the world stage.

2013 - At the European Junior Championships the Orpington-born sprinter won 200m and 4x100m relay gold.

2014 - Gold in the 100m came at the World Junior Championships in Oregon as Asher-Smith's star continued to rise.

2015 - Asher-Smith wins her first senior individual medal with silver in the 60m at the European Indoor Championships in Prague.

2016 - After being a kit-carrier at London 2012, Asher-Smith's Olympic debut in Rio saw her win 4x100m relay bronze and finish fifth in the 200m. A maiden individual title came a few weeks earlier after victory in the 200m at the European Championships.

2017 - A year wrecked by a fractured foot suffered in February. She still produced a stunning run to finish fourth in the 200m and claim 4x100m relay silver at the London World Championships.

2018 - The year which proved the springboard for global success as she won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the European Championships in Berlin. They came after a 200m Commonwealth Games bronze and 4x100m relay success on the Gold Coast.

2019 - A Diamond League victory just weeks before the World Championships set her on course to become the first British female sprinter to take a world title after winning 100m silver, breaking her own British record with a 10.83 second run. In October, she won gold in Doha with a British record time of 21.88 seconds in the 200m final.

Britain's female world gold medalists

Fatima Whitbread - 1987

Whitbread improved on her 1983 silver at the first World Championships by winning the javelin in Rome.

She beat bitter rival Petra Felke with a throw of 76.64m to win Great Britain's only gold medal of the Championships.

Felke, though, hit back a year later and took Olympic gold with Whitbread second.

Liz McColgan - 1991

Three years after Olympic silver in the 10,000m in Seoul, McColgan went one better at the World Championships in Tokyo.

It was one of two golds for Great Britain that year, along with the 4x400m relay squad.

Daughter Eilish won silver in the 5,000m for Great Britain at the European Championships last year.

Sally Gunnell - 1993

A year after her 400m hurdles victory at the Barcelona Olympics Gunnell was winning gold again in style at the World Championships in Stuttgart.

She won in 52.74 seconds - setting a new world record which was broken two years later.

It remains the British record and gold was an improvement on the silver from Toyko in 1991, while Gunnell also won bronze in the 4x400m relay in Stuttgart.

Paula Radcliffe - 2005

The distance runner won Britain's only gold medal of the World Championships in Helsinki when she took the marathon title.

She set a championship record time of two hours 20:57 minutes, which still stands.

It was a rare bright moment for Great Britain in Finland as they won just three medals.

Christine Ohuruogu - 2007 and 2013

Ohuruogu won he first world title in 2007 just weeks after she completed a ban for missing three out-of-competition drug tests.

Despite running just five competitive races before the final she won Great Britain's only gold at the Championships.

She claimed a second gold in Moscow in 2013, setting a new British record with a time of 49.41s.

Jessica Ennis-Hill - 2009, 2011 and 2015

The heptathlon star took three world titles with her first crown in Berlin 10 years ago as she beat Jennifer Oeser of Germany by 238 points.

In 2011 in Daegu she originally finished second behind Tatyana Chernova but the Russian was disqualified for failing retrospective doping testing and in 2016 she was upgraded to a gold by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A final title in Beijing came after she returned from having son Reggie in 2014.

World Athletics links

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