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Former world record holder Colin Jackson believes that a medal of any colour for Team GB’s poster girl Dina Asher-Smith will be an achievement, writes Milly McEvoy.
World champion over the 200m, Asher-Smith will come up against a stacked field in the 100m with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser Price coming close to breaking the world record in recent weeks.
Cardiff-born Jackson, who won silver in the 110m hurdles at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, said: “Dina is in one of the toughest events of them all. At the moment, she's really showing strong form, but so are all the female sprinters across the globe.
“I would say that, honestly, if she got two bronze medals, she would have done a fantastic job. That is the quality of women's sprinting at this moment.
“I think as the poster girl there's that little added pressure, but if she gets on the rostrum, she will have done a really grand job. She's looking strong, she's looking promising and never write her off,” said Jackson who is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo.
Another star of Team GB’s athletics squad is world champion heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson who is making her return from injury.
“Kat's got a very experienced team around them, and they won't put her in a position where they feel that she can't do her very best or compete to the highest level.
“She's going to be competing in the long jump very soon, so we'll have a rough idea how she is physically after the long jump.
“I saw her compete in the high jump as well, quite recently and she seems like she's on that right level keel.
“As a defending World Champion, as well as British record holder I think she'll want to try and keep pushing her level up again, again, and again.”
Having himself won silver at the 1986 Commonwealth Games as a 19-year-old, Jackson is full of praise for teenager Keely Hodgkinson who has burst on the scene in the 800m.
“I wish you could see my face because I'm so smiley about it. She is incredibly talented and it's about having fun at that time.
“I remember I tell a story that when I got into the [Commonwealth] final at that age because I was so young and you're slightly naïve, I was playing the staring game with my opponents!
“I was trying to say: ‘Well, I'm only young and I could do this’ and it's just a great feeling that you can go out there and you can compete against the best in the world.
“Whatever she does this year, it is only the beginning. If she's successful and gets on the rostrum, fabulous, but it is only the beginning.
“There is so much more for her to do and potentially we will be talking about her in 10, 12 years' time still as being a world leader.
“Thinking about that in 10, 12 years' time we're still talking about this young lady as being a world leader, phenomenal!”
Jackson is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo, with the same amazing home support as London 2012. Visit @PurplebricksUK. To enter the draw to receive one of 2,020 limited edition prints, visit https://page.purplebricks.co.uk/teamgb_homesupport/