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Can Dina Asher-Smith end GB’s medal drought in the women’s 100 or 200 metres?

·3-min read

Dina Asher-Smith begins her Olympic campaign on Friday looking to become Great Britain’s first ever champion and first medallist for over 60 years in the women’s 100 or 200 metres.

Here, the PA news agency looks at Britain’s past sprint performances as well as Asher-Smith’s medal record as she goes into these Games as Team GB’s athletics team captain.

Sixty-year wait

Dorothy Hyman with her 1960 Olympic 100m silver medal
Dorothy Hyman with her 1960 Olympic 100m silver medal (PA)

Since Dorothy Hyman won 100m silver and 200m bronze in 1960, no British woman has finished on the podium in either of those two events.

Dorothy Manley and Audrey Williamson, with silver in the 100m and 200m respectively in 1948, are the country’s only other individual female medallists while the women’s 4x100m relay has brought Britain two silver and six bronze medals in Olympic history.

Indeed, since Kathy Cook finished fourth in the 200m and Heather Oakes seventh in the 100m in 1984, even British finalists have been a rarity.

Asher-Smith finished fifth in the 200m in 2016, joining only Abi Oyepitan as a British finalist in that event since Cook’s run, while Jeanette Kwakye – sixth in 2008 – is Britain’s lone 100m finalist in the 37 years since Oakes.

Christine Ohuruogu won 400m gold in 2008 and silver in 2012, with Katharine Merry in 2000 matching Cook’s 1984 bronze in that event. Ann Packer and Lilian Board won silver in 1964 and 1968 respectively.

Asher-Smith’s medal haul

Dina Asher-Smith on the podium after receiving her 200m gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha
Dina Asher-Smith on the podium after receiving her 200m gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha (Martin Rickett/PA)

Asher-Smith contributed to one of those Olympic relay medal performances, joining Asha Philip, Desiree Henry and Daryll Neita to finish third on her Olympic debut in Rio – four years after serving as a volunteer kit carrier at London 2012.

She had already won relay bronze at the 2013 World Championships and 60m silver at the 2015 European Indoor Championships, but 2016 marked her true emergence as a force on the international stage.

That year’s European Championships brought her first major gold medal, in the 200m, as well as relay silver – the latter feat matched at the 2017 World Championships.

Having won 200m bronze and relay gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she dominated that year’s European Championships with triple gold in the 100m, 200m and relay.

Asher-Smith’s run of success continued at the 2019 World Championships in Doha with British records of 21.88 seconds to win the 200m and 10.83sec in the 100m for one of her two silver medals, the other coming in the relay.

She was crowned Diamond League 100m champion the same year, winning the season final in Brussels in 10.88sec. She has gone within three hundredths of that as one of three sub-11 second runs this year and arrived in Tokyo with a 200m season’s best of 22.06sec.

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