Dina Asher-Smith back in business after disaster year with blistering 10.87-second race to take second in Diamond League 100m as Keely Hodgkinson wins 800m title
A little too late to catch Elaine Thompson-Herah in Zurich and a little too late in the tale of a season soaked in tears. But if there is a consolation for Dina Asher-Smith, slender as it may be, it is that she moved back towards her best form at considerable speed on Thursday night.
At a meet where the newest hope of British running, Keely Hodgkinson, added the Diamond League 800m title to her Olympic silver medal, Asher-Smith served a belated reminder of why she went to Tokyo on such a wave of hype.
Her blistering run of 10.87sec – the third quickest 100m time of her life – put her second behind the multiple Olympic champion Thompson-Herah in the 100m final, and it was followed a little over an hour later with a third-placed finish in the 200m.
Dina Asher-Smith (right) was second to Elaine Thompson-Herah (left) in the Diamond League 100m
Tokyo Olympics silver medal winner Keely Hodgkinson won the Diamond League 800m title
None of which will come close to erasing the devastation she felt after a hamstring injury wrecked her Olympic campaign, but at the very least it allowed her a flourish at the end of a troubled campaign. With a world championships next summer, she can move forward with some momentum.
She said: ‘It’s a really, really good day. I knew that I would be back in, not quite normal, but as close to normal as I’m going to get this year. I was so happy with my 100m. I was looking to go sub-11 and put together a good race – 10.87 is great.
‘It wasn’t necessarily about times, it’s more about looking forward and setting a positive mindset and positive step for next year. Obviously, the Olympics didn’t go the way I wanted but it’s done now.
‘I want to go into next year without any of that on my shoulders, and just push forwards to make the next three years incredible. After the few months I’ve had, I’m so happy, I’m definitely taking that.’
Asher-Smith’s blistering 10.87 seconds wasn’t enough to beat Thompson-Herah’s 10.65 run
Despite matching Thompson-Herah over 50m, Asher-Smith was burnt off by the Olympic 100m and 200m champion in the second half as the Jamaican clocked 10.65sec, just 0.16sec outside of Florence Griffith Joyner’s controversial world record.
Daryll Neita was fifth in 10.93sec, meaning Britain had two sub-11sec runners in a race for the first time. Even on a rapid track, they were two particularly impressive performances.
After coming so close in the past month to catching Griffith Joyner’s record, Thompson-Herah said: ‘This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year, the world record is definitely on my mind.’
Asher-Smith came third in the 200m, well behind Namibian winner Christine Mboma (left)
The 200m saw Asher-Smith finish in 22.19sec, well down on the Namibian phenomenon Christine Mboma, the Olympic silver medallist. The 18-year-old, classified by World Athletics as an athlete with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD), clocked a staggering 21.78sec.
Her prominence at the distance, having been prevented by the governing body’s DSD rules from contesting her favoured 400m, is sure to provoke a return of the debate that has engulfed Caster Semenya in recent years.
Hodgkinson’s astonishing breakthrough season was wrapped up with another major win. The 19-year-old broke off the final bend to win the 800m in 1:57.98, with Jemma Reekie fourth. Hodgkinson said: ‘To finish the season with a win like that against a world-class season, I couldn’t be happier.’
Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw was fourth in the pole vault.
Hodgkinson won the 800m in 1:57.98, with fellow Brit Jemma Reekie (right) finishing fourth