Asher-Smith back in the frame
Asher-Smith back in the frame

In any other year, Dina Asher-Smith’s tears after finishing sixth in the British 100m trials would have reflected a lingering numbness and despair.

This time, however, they were of a condemned woman handed an unexpected reprieve.

When Asher-Smith broke the navicular bone in her right foot in February, the obituaries for her season were written in triplicate. Not only was Britain’s 100m and 200m record holder unable to walk for weeks and weeks, but when she did start running in early June, her foot hurt far more than the lactic burn.

Yet here she was in Birmingham, looking more ragged as the 100m final went on, certainly, but giving her all for a place in the world championships in London next month. Her time of 11.56sec was her slowest for three years and a long way behind Asha Philip, who won in 11.21 – with Daryll Neita second, 0.04sec further back – but it hinted at opportunities that hardly seemed possible this time last month.

“Everyone said you have broken your foot, you are not going to be able to run at all in 2017,” said Asher-Smith, who has had to balance her recovery with finishing her degree in history from King’s College, London. “I was so scared, as you can imagine. I know my time was not good and I was rusty, but I really don’t mind. My London dream is definitely back alive.”

Asher-Smith’s performance will have certainly earned her a place in Britain’s 4x100m relay squad for the world championships. In addition, as the reigning European 200m champion, she will be considered by selectors for the third wildcard place in the 200m, if she can show greater fitness and form by the deadline of 25 July. A place in the 100m is also up for grabs if she can run the qualifying time of 11.27 by that date.

“I was back on my feet at the start of June on grass,” said Asher-Smith. “I came off grass just two weeks ago last Monday. Then I did some sprint sessions, but I couldn’t finish them all because my foot hurt. Honestly, I can go so much faster with some training in me.”


 
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