In-form Harriers head to Championships
PUBLISHED: 10:30 21 August 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Leading Blackheath & Bromley Harriers sprinters Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Gemili will go into the British Championships and world trials this weekend brimming with confidence, writes Ziad Chaudry.
Both produced solid displays at the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham last Sunday, with 23-year-old Asher-Smith second in a strongly-assembled women's 200m field in 22.36secs behind current Commonwealth Games champion and 400m Olympic gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo, of the Bahamas, who clocked 22.24.
Jamaica's London 2012 Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took third in 22.50, while other big names in the field included Holland's defending world champion Dafne Schippers who finished fourth in 22.81, former Commonwealth Games champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (22.83) and Ivory Coast's reigning African champion Marie-Jośee Ta Lou (24.18).
"I'm really happy to have finished second in that race," said Orpington-based Asher-Smith who will return to Alexander Stadium track this weekend to defend her domestic 100m mantle.
"Having said that, I'm a competitor so obviously I want to win every race. To maintain my form and finish strongly against arguably the best 400m runner in the world is good, so all in all, I am happy with that race."
Gemili also had to settle for second in his men's 100m encounter but only eight thousandths of a second separated the 25-year-old and eventual winner Yohan Blake, Jamaica's 2011 world champion, with both registering the same 10.07 time.
"It wasn't my best start but I'm just so happy to be healthy and back up running," said Gemili. "It's good to be in the mix with some of the best sprinters in the world. To win my heat and second in the Diamond League race, it bodes well for next week and hopefully I can make the team for Doha.
"Each race is completely separate and I'll take next week like a new race. It doesn't matter what you've done going into it and treat it like a championships. I'm not going to take it lightly and make that top two. I will be the doing the 100m and 200m. I've put a lot of training in this winter and I'm healthy finally. It feels like I've been saying that for a while.
"The last few years especially there's been a massive surge in sprinters coming through and pushing through and happy to be a part of that. I feel like I'm fit enough to make the team for both distances. As long as I'm in the final I've got a chance."