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Defiant Asher-Smith: my Olympics isn't over despite 200m heartbreak

·3-min read
Asher-Smith, 25, was unable to advance to the 100m final on Saturday after struggling with the effects of a hamstring injury
Asher-Smith, 25, was unable to advance to the 100m final on Saturday after struggling with the effects of a hamstring injury

From Tom Harle at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium

Dina Asher-Smith's Olympics isn't over despite a hamstring injury that led her to withdraw from the 200m and prevented her from pulling spikes on until ten days ago.

The world 100m silver medallist missed out on the final in the event and revealed in tearful trackside interviews that she suffered an injury at June's British Olympic Trials.

Asher-Smith has now withdrawn from the 200m but will compete in the 4x100m relay late next week.

"I'm doing the relay, we've still got a relay to do," said the 25-year-old. "11.05 will be incredible useful on a relay leg, especially with Darryl (Neita) in the form she is."

The Kent star felt the injury at the 60m mark of the 100m final at the Trials in Manchester in late June.

In the immediate aftermath, she was diagnosed with a ruptured hamstring that would require surgery and need three months of healing before she could walk again. She was told to expect a year off the track.

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - TEAM GB SHINE ON FANTASTIC FRIDAY WITH BMX GLORY AND DRAMA IN THE POOL
TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - TEAM GB SHINE ON FANTASTIC FRIDAY WITH BMX GLORY AND DRAMA IN THE POOL

Asher-Smith told close friends and family and wrote a statement on her iPhone explaining to fans she would be withdrawing from the Olympics.

It caused her to miss three weeks of training and withdraw from the Stockholm Diamond League and then Gateshead, when a statement merely said she 'didn't want to risk anything' ahead of Tokyo.

Then came a curveball from Germany from doctors she visited and consulted for a second opinion.

"I decided to go to the best sports doctors it the world to get an opinion on what kind of surgery I should have, whether if there was some hamstring left or whether I should have a plastic or metal attachment," she said after a race broadcast live on Eurosport and Discovery+.

"I couldn't get into the country at first, even though I was allowed with medical exemption. I was in floods of tears at Heathrow saying ‘I've got to get through’.

"I had a call from the doctor in Germany saying I've looked at your scans and you need to get here because while you have torn it, I don't think it's a rupture and if we get on it and really push there's a chance you could be on the line in Tokyo.

"I started crying and called the selectors saying: 'select me, select me if there's a chance'. If there's a two per cent chance I'm going to go and get it. Thankfully British Athletics people supported me."

She returned to training in spikes on 21 July - nine days later she finished second in her heat in Tokyo and the day later third in her semi-final.

"I've been dreaming about this for so long, unless I couldn't stand or couldn't do anything on the leg, it wasn't an option for me to pull out," she said.

TOKYO 2020 - JONNY BROWNLEE ON 'COMPLETING' THE OLYMPIC GAMES, PLUS GEORGIA TAYLOR-BROWN REACTION
TOKYO 2020 - JONNY BROWNLEE ON 'COMPLETING' THE OLYMPIC GAMES, PLUS GEORGIA TAYLOR-BROWN REACTION

"This is my life. The mental journey itself has been quite a lot, I got told it was a rupture and then it wasn't. It interrupts your belief, it was crazy.

"Psychologically, it was a big blow. Then suddenly I had the extremes."

It seems Asher-Smith was using the 100m as a training ground for the 200m, the event in which she is world champion.

"When you missed the amount of training I did, you want to see the injury over 100 before you see it over 200," she said.

"The bits I was fatiguing in the race, the transition and then the last ten metres, if you do that on the 200m it becomes a bit dangerous for the muscle.

“That’s the one, as reigning world champion and I was in such good shape, you just know Olympic champion is not too much of a further step.

“There’s plenty more championships for me to come and kill."

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, the Streaming Home of the Olympics.

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