Dina Asher-Smith relishing pressure of Olympics with British history on the line

Dina Asher-Smith is relishing her chance to make British Olympic history.

The fearless Team GB star begins her Games campaign in the 100m heats in Tokyo on Friday.

She is bidding to become the first British woman to win an individual sprint medal since Dorothy Hyman claimed 100m silver and 200m bronze in 1960.

Jamaica’s double 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce remains favourite for the title but Asher-Smith is ready.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is Dina Asher-Smith's biggest rival
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is Dina Asher-Smith’s biggest rival (Mike Egerton/PA)

The world 200m champion said: “Scary, what’s scary? At Heathrow loads of the BA people said: ‘Are you nervous?’ I was like: ‘No, what is there to be nervous about?’

“Obviously this is on a different scale but I line up for a race and I’ve done that since I was eight years old and I’m very, very good at it.

“Obviously the stakes change, the mechanics change, the precision of it changes but fundamentally this is something I do week in, week out.

“There’s absolutely nothing to be scared of. I love a show, I love a stage, I love putting together a great performance when it matters, when the lights are really on. That’s just part of me.

“I love championships. My coach always tells me to quell my excitement throughout the season until the championships then let it loose. He told me I can get excited so you’ll see more energy from me now.”

The 25-year-old also runs in the 200m and 4x100m relay next week after Saturday’s 100m final.

Asher-Smith beat Fraser-Pryce in the Diamond League in Gateshead in May before the Jamaican clocked 10.63 seconds in Kingston last month to become the second fastest woman in history.

Yet Asher-Smith, the double European champion, remains unfazed by her rival’s times.

Dina Asher-Smith gets her campaign in Tokyo under way on Friday
Dina Asher-Smith gets her campaign in Tokyo under way on Friday (Martin Rickett/PA)

“It’s not daunting or a motivator, simply because I’m inside my own body. I know what I can do,” she said.

“To me it’s immaterial what people run around you because a championship is a completely different ball game.

“The reason why we all love championships is because you honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.

“Everybody has their predictions written down on paper, but we don’t run on paper, we run on the track. People always run fast – that’s the sport. But it’s the championships that really matter.”