Dina Asher-Smith warns Jamaican and US rivals she will deliver at Olympics

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<span>Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA</span>
Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Dina Asher-Smith says she is unfazed by the times run by American and Jamaican sprinters recently, and warned her rivals she is a championship performer who will deliver at the Olympics.

Asher-Smith, the reigning 100m silver medallist and 200m world champion, is unbeaten this season but her best times this year – 10.91 and 22.06sec respectively – put her only just inside the top 10 for both events.

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Her biggest rivals in Tokyo have all gone considerably quicker, with the Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce recently running the 100m in 10.63, making her the second quickest woman in history behind Florence Griffith Joyner.

Then, at the US trials at the weekend, Gabby Thomas stunned onlookers by running 21.61 for 200m, making her the second fastest woman of all time at the distance behind Griffith Joyner.

Asher-Smith knows, however, that she has consistently delivered when it matters and insists that when it comes to Tokyo she will be primed and ready.

“I didn’t watch anything in Jamaica or the US but obviously I know what’s happened,” she said. “The women have been running incredibly quickly this year and it’s amazing for world sprinting. I always back myself because I know what kind of shape I’m in.

“I definitely have faster in me. I’m in good shape, I’m in actually really, really good shape so I’m really excited. And I’m a championship performer.”

Asher-Smith, who will be named in the British team to run the 100m and 200m when it is announced on Tuesday, also revealed she had used each race this year to practise a particular skill and so did not feel the need to lay out a marker before the Olympics. She pointed out that when she had raced Fraser-Pryce and the exciting American Sha’Carri Richardson in driving rain in Gateshead last month, she emerged triumphant.

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“We all run in different continents and different conditions, but when you all meet that’s what really matters,” she said. “Obviously, the true test is when you’re all together and what you perform like under the circumstances. It’s about being mentally resilient whatever the conditions.”

Asher-Smith, who confirmed she had got a second dose of the Covid vaccine on Monday, also predicted the women’s 100m would be more exciting than the men’s event at the Olympics. “I’m completely biased but yeah,” she said, smiling. “There’s been so much noise around it as well, which I think is only brilliant for the sport. The more eyes, the better.”

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