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Brendan Foster hails “coaching feat of brilliance” behind Asher-Smith’s triumph

Dina Asher-Smith’s lockdown training regime can elevate her from angel of the north to the toast of Tokyo.

Britain’s sprint queen was not about to shout the odds after leaving the world’s best for dead in Gateshead.

But the manner of her victory and understated reaction to it said more than words ever could.

Athletics legend Sir Brendan Foster was among 2,000 fans braving the elements to see her first major race since she emerged from lockdown revealing her new power-packed physique.

What he saw convinced him that the work done out of the spotlight by Asher-Smith and her coach John Blackie has her primed for a tilt at Olympic greatness.

“Dina’s two races were two of the most impressive performances we’ve seen for a long time, even ever,” he said.

“We know what world class sprinting looks like up here: Asafa Powell broke the world record on this track, Linford Christie famously beat Carl Lewis.

Asher-Smith hard at work in weights room (Insta: @dinaashersmith)

“But we’ve rarely seen anything like last night and for me the coaching performance to get her into that position without racing for such a long time is a feat of brilliance.

“To be able to get yourself ready without competition at this level is really impressive. She and her coach have done a fantastic job.”

Asher-Smith has been coached by John Blackie since she came into the sport as a kid and he has already turned her into a world champion.

Asher-Smith works with coach John Blackie in Doha during 2019 World Championships
Asher-Smith works with coach John Blackie in Doha during 2019 World Championships

But few expected the pair to use the extra year caused by the postponement of the Olympics quite so effectively.

To the casual observer it appeared Asher-Smith had taken her foot off the gas during lockdown; her Instagram page a catalogue of fashion shots and glossy magazine covers.

Reality was different. Away from the spotlight, Blackie quietly enrolled his star athlete in a rigorous physical programme, adding stamina, power and a robustness to her god-given speed.

Asher-Smith on Instagram: "Don't get bitter, just get better"
Asher-Smith on Instagram: “Don’t get bitter, just get better” (Insta: @dinaashersmith)

It was hard graft but come race weekend in the North East there was a calmness about her born of the knowledge that comes with knowing you have the tools to get the job done.

“What we’ve now got to look forward to is the best performance in the sprints at the Olympics by a British female since the Dorothy Hyman days of the 60s,” concluded Foster.

The BBC’s long-time Voice of Athletics added: “There is no better advert for female sport in this country than Dina. Athletics sparkles when you get an athlete of that calibre.

Foster: "Dina's performance has signalled the return of a forgotten sport”
Foster: “Dina’s performance has signalled the return of a forgotten sport”

“To watch her run as she did then come off the track soaking wet and dazzle in the press conference with her demeanour and sensible analysis was a joy.

“You can understand why people are starting to get excited. Her performance has signalled the return of a forgotten sport.”

British Olympians will NOT be prevented from competing in Tokyo if they turn down the vaccine.

Dynamite Dina destroys a world class field in Gateshead on Sunday
Dynamite Dina destroys a world class field in Gateshead on Sunday

Team GB boss Mark England says he is “very hopeful” all his athletes would take up the IOC-Pfizer offer to be jabbed in time for the Games.

But he said: “Having a vaccination is not a pre-requisite for going to the Games. It is not a pre-requisite from the IOC or Tokyo government or ourselves.

“We are suggesting it is an opportunity to protect not only our own delegation but a great opportunity to protect the Japanese public as well. We are certainly encouraging that to happen.

“I am very hopeful that everybody that will have the opportunity will take that up.”




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