5 talking points following Dina Asher-Smith’s race to glory in Doha

Dina Asher-Smith became just the seventh British woman to claim a world gold medal when she took the 200m title on Wednesday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five talking points around the 23-year-old following her victory in Doha.

How strong was the field?

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Day Four – Khalifa International Stadium
Bahamas’ Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo focused on the 400m (Mike Egerton/PA)

Asher-Smith had been favourite for victory for a while but saw several rivals drop out.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the 400m Olympic champion who is unbeaten for over two years, opted to focus on the 400m as the schedule clashed.

Defending champion Dafne Schippers withdrew injured, new 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce opted out, Blessing Okagbare was disqualified and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was also missing with an Achilles problem.

Asher-Smith deserved victory but it would have been sweeter against the best.

What does this mean ahead of the Olympics?

Dina Asher-Smith, left, finished second behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Dina Asher-Smith, left, finished second behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Mike Egerton/PA)

Asher-Smith’s has become one of the world’s best sprinters over the last 18 months. A 200m victory after Sunday’s impressive 100m silver sent out a huge warning to her rivals ahead of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo. It is unfortunate she has encountered the returning Fraser-Pryce in imperious form as her 100m final time of 10.83 seconds would have been enough to win gold at the London World Championships two years ago.

Can she go faster?

The British record holder broke he own 100m mark on Sunday for the second major championships running. Last August she set 10.85s to win gold at the Europeans in Berlin but went better in Doha. On Wednesday she turned on the afterburners to take the title but will have to go faster if she wants an Olympic title.

Can she handle the burden of being British Athletics’ golden girl?

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Day Three – Khalifa International Stadium
Dina Asher-Smith is the biggest star of the British squad (Martin Rickett/PA)

The former history student gives off a carefree vibe but is very businesslike when it comes down to the serious stuff. There is a lack of depth within the British squad and while Laura Muir and Katarina Johnson-Thompson are big stars, Asher-Smith is the main draw. She needs to help carry the torch for athletics and so far has proved she can handle the spotlight, but the pressure will now only intensify.

Will Asher-Smith’s success paper over the British cracks?

A sixth place finish for @zharnel_hughes in the men's 100m final at the #WorldAthleticsChamps and he has done this country PROUD!#REPRESENTpic.twitter.com/TA6lofbVVQ

— British Athletics (@BritAthletics) September 28, 2019

A medal target of between seven and nine was set pre-championships, with Asher-Smith expected to win three, including in the 4x100m relay. Gold in the 200m was a historic achievement – becoming just the seventh British woman to win world gold – but the failures of the men’s sprinters to take a medal means hopes continue to sit with Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Laura Muir.

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