DINA ASHER-Smith claimed her maiden world title and broke her own British record as she took Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s first gold medal of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, storming to victory in the women’s 200m.
“It means so much. There’s so many British fans here and I know lots of Brits live in Doha but lots have travelled and for my mum to be here, my dad, John and his wife and my physios it means so much.
Pulling away early on, she maintained a comfortable lead as she powered down the home straight to take victory in 21.88s (0.9), shaving 0.01s off her previous British record and becoming the first British woman to claim medals in the 100m and 200m at a championships.
Asher-Smith also become the seventh British woman ever to claim a gold medal at the World Championships, and the first since Jessica Ennis-Hill in 2015.
After the race, she said: “I don’t think it’s properly sunk in, it’s something that since the last World Championships, John [Blackie] and I knew that I could do it but there’s a different thing actually going and doing it – it means so much.
“I know I was tired and woke up today knowing this was the last individual chance and this was the moment I did all my work for. This is what we knew we could achieve if the season went well and the tiredness just disappeared when I needed it to.
“It means so much. There’s so many British fans here and I know lots of Brits live in Doha but lots have travelled and for my mum to be here, my dad, John and his wife and my physios it means so much. Normally I’m quite chatty and full of energy but it’s a different thing with everyone saying you’re the favourite but it’s a different thing going and doing it.
“You’re only the favourite if you go out and perform how people expect you to and I was really focused on putting together a good race. I dreamt of this but now it’s real.
“It means a lot and I’m really happy but I’m going to enjoy this one and use it as motivation going into the big one [Tokyo] next year.”
“It rounded off day one of the women’s heptathlon leading the field on 4138 points, ahead of Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam by 96 points.
Johnson-Thompson opened up by shattering her 100m hurdles personal best by two tenths to 13.09s and backed it up with a Championship best 1.95m effort in the high jump, matched by Belgium’s Nafi Thiam.
The Liverpool Harrier then put 71cm onto her shot put personal best with a third-round effort of 13.86m, rounding off the first day of action with a season’s best showing in the 200m, clocking 23.09.
The score is the fourth best ever by a heptathlete at the end of day one of competition and with two personal bests to her name, Johnson-Thompson hoped to carry her form from today into day two of the heptathlon.
She assessed: “My 200m isn’t where it was from the last couple of years, which is obviously something I need to work on for next year but I am happy with it, it is a season’s best.
“I surprised myself in the hurdles. In my score calculator I have never put 13.0 in it – I was very happy with that and surprised!
“It’s the halfway point, I have got another day to negotiate tomorrow, I am in a good position. I don’t think in those terms [about leading]. I know that I am in good shape, I know that I can contend but I never think in those terms and that I need to be in the lead by this many points.”
British medallists at the IAAF World Championships:
Dina Asher-Smith – 200m
Dina Asher-Smith – 100m
4th Adam Gemili – 200m
4th Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault
4th Mixed relay team
6th Zharnel Hughes – 100m