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Dina Asher-Smith insists she is “much stronger” than when she conquered world

Dina Asher-Smith claims to be a souped-up version of the athlete who conquered the world.

And she has warned her Olympic rivals that she is ready for whatever they throw at her in tonight’s 100 metres showdown in Gateshead.

Asher-Smith faces world class opposition for the first time since her 200m gold medal in Doha 19 months ago.

World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and young pretender Sha’Carri Richardson are both faster than her over 100m.

But Asher-Smith said: “The difference between me in 2019 and me now is I am much, much, much stronger physically.

“I’ve just had so much more time to work, I’m stronger and much more technically proficient. Things my coach has been kind of hoping that I could do for many years, I can now actually do them.

“It’s only the past three weeks that I’ve stopped doing over 300 ab exercises in a training session. It’s been crazy, an incredibly hard winter. I’m so excited to be racing because it’s a respite from very difficult training.”

NOW: Asher-Smith competing in Germany this year

THEN: Dina races at 2019 World Championships in Doha
THEN: Dina races at 2019 World Championships in Doha

Richardson, 21, has taken the world by storm in the last year and many view her as the likely winner in Tokyo this summer.

“I’m excited to be here and I’m ready to run fast,” she said. “It’s a shame about the weather but it won’t be an excuse. I want to put on a show.”

The American recently clocked 10.72secs, a time bettered only twice in Olympic history, but Gateshead provides easily the biggest test of her young career.

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson
American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson

“I saw her run and technically it was a very nice bit of sprinting to watch,” Asher-Smith admitted. “My coach and I were like, ‘Yeah, that’s really pretty’.

“But I have to always back myself. I’m a competitor, always. If you come to a diamond League in our category, you have to come prepared, you have to come ready.”

She was less sure of her position when asked if she would join British team mate Adam Gemili in defying an IOC ban and protesting against injustice should she make the podium in Tokyo.

British sprinter Adam Gemili
British sprinter Adam Gemili

“It is a shame that kind of restriction has been put in place, especially when you consider what’s happening in the world right now,” she said, before adding: “I don’t want to incite anything.”

Richardson, in contrast, said: “The IOC has said their opinions and its restrictions but we as people have our own beliefs, we have our own rights.

“They have to know when the right time is to stand for something right. You have to know, when you have that platform, how to use it in the correct way.

“I am a big advocate for Black Lives Matter. I’m a proud black woman. Part of why I’m so successful and I’m so motivated is because of my black history. I definitely want to be part of that.”




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