Dina Asher-Smith to double up at next year’s World Championships

By Nick Mashiter, Press Association Sport
PA Ready Sport

Dina Asher-Smith will go for double gold at next year’s World Championships.

The triple European champion is planning on running the 100m and 200m in Doha as she steps up her bid for global dominance.

The 23-year-old ran two world leading times in 2018 – 10.85 seconds in the 100m and 21.89s in the 200m – on the way to winning both events in Berlin in August.

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And long-time coach John Blackie has confirmed for the first time Asher-Smith, who also took 4x100m gold in Germany, intends to double up again.

He told Press Association Sport: “The intent (in Berlin) was, if we can do two, then maybe come the World Championships, we may go for the double again. British Athletics are not keen on doing two but we are now.

“The summer was a good testing ground. It was the first time we had done two events and it was a deliberate ploy, we wanted to see how well Dina could cope with it.

“There’s no rest day at the Worlds, assuming she gets through to the final of the 100m – two races that day – the 200m starts the following day.

“That is slightly different to anything else we’ve experienced, in Berlin there was a day to allow that recovery. Now it’s hours and we have a bit more of a challenge.

“But British Athletics have a lot of brainpower and they are with us.”

Blackie and Asher-Smith are not planning to begin her season until the opening Diamond League meet in Doha in May to ensure she does not burn out ahead of the World Championships, which starts next September.

She beat 200m world champion Dafne Schippers in every race last season and toppled Olympic champion Elaine Thompson at the Commonwealth Games to win 200m bronze in April.

And Blackie admitted some of Asher-Smith’s rivals are paying closer attention to her now.

“It (a world title) is within her grasp,” said Blackie.

“The fact she recorded the two fastest times in the world means you discount her at your peril. They know that.

“We did see certain things going on where people are trying to psyche her out – I’m not going to go into detail but there were a couple of examples.

“We were aware but treated it with the contempt it deserved, we ignored it. It happens, some cases people don’t know they are doing it, in others it’s a deliberate ploy. We focus on what we are doing.”

Blackie is backing England Athletics’ #gocoach campaign to bring 10,000 new people into athletics and running coaching by 2020.

He has trained Asher-Smith since she was nine and believes prospective coaches need to see the benefits.

“It’s great when you’re working with athletes who have different capabilities and you’re helping them believe in themselves,” he added.

“If people don’t believe themselves they are not going to get anywhere. Helping them do that is great.

“As coaches, we’re on the journey. It’s very rewarding. We want people to join the fraternity, any age and background.

“What they put in will reflect what they get out. If they can only put in a couple of hours a week that’s fine because it’s two more hours than we had before.”

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