World champion Dina Asher-Smith keeping feet on ground ahead of Tokyo 2020

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

Success in Doha will count for nothing at next summer’s Olympics, according to Dina Asher-Smith.

The 24-year-old became the first British female sprinter to win World Championship gold when she stormed to victory over 200 metres in Qatar in October, having already claimed silver over 100m.

She outclassed the field in winning the 200m, but accepts everything resets to zero for 2020.

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Asher-Smith, one of six stars on the BBC’s 2019 Sports Personality of the Year shortlist, told the PA news agency: “It’s a new year, while you might be world champion this year, next you might be ranked fourth, you might not even make the final.

“That’s just how track and field goes and that’s why it’s important life doesn’t change – you train six days a week and you just keep trying to be faster and stronger.

“It’s a truly unpredictable sport. Some people might not have raced as well as they would have liked in Qatar, but it could all be different when it comes to Japan.

“Yes it’s great being world champion, but that’s the only takeaway that I can really have from the World Championships – it doesn’t dictate how the next year is going to go.”

While others might perceive that the world champion tag brings extra pressure, Asher-Smith insists she has no trouble keeping her cool when she races.

“It’s part and parcel of performing well as a sprinter – you have to be calm,” she added.

“You have to have adrenaline, so a little bit isn’t necessarily bad, but ultimately you run well as a sprinter if you’re calm and you’re in control. So it’s part of my job to control my nerves and control my emotions.

“Once you’ve done something so often you kind of get used to it. I just love competing and when the gun goes, (you just) run as fast as you can. It’s more like a passion for me and typically I’m more excited than anything.”

Asher-Smith is joined on the shortlist for Sunday’s awards show, which starts at 7pm on BBC One, by fellow track and field star Katarina Johnson-Thompson, England cricketer Ben Stokes, Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Wales’ Rugby World Cup captain Alun Wyn Jones.

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