Dina Asher-Smith powers to the 200m title in Doha (© Getty Images)
For the second time this week, Dina Asher-Smith staked her claim as one of the finest sprinters on the planet.
Less than 72 hours after taking silver in the 100m, the 23-year-old Londoner powered to the world title in the 200m to admirable live up to her role as favourite. She clocked 21.88 to clip 0.01 from the national record she set at the European Championships in Berlin 14 months ago.
“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,” said Asher-Smith, whose 10.83 performance in the 100m final on Sunday was also an improvement on the national record she set at those same continental championships.
“I knew 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.”
While her star rose considerably in 2018 after her golden double dash heroics in the German capital, Asher-Smith began this season with no individual global laurels to her name - in short, she still had to prove herself on the global stage. She admitted as much after her 100m silver medal on Sunday, saying, "Last year I was in great shape, ran some great times, but racing-wise I didn’t think I was quite there yet. I didn’t feel I was of the same calibre as some of the other girls. I still needed to take it up another notch."
She climbed at least one notch this week, if not more.
Out of the blocks quickly, the Briton was already ahead midway through the bend, entering the straight with a two-metre margin over rising US talent Brittany Brown. Both held their form down the homestretch, but the Briton did manage to pad her margin by another metre or so before crossing the line as her country's seventh world champion. Her medal was just the second in the event for Great Britain at the World Championships; the first was at the inaugural edition in Helsinki in 1983 where Kathy Cook took bronze.
The field’s power was depleted somewhat when injury sidelined defending champion Dafne Schippers and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson in the early rounds, while world leader Shaunae Miller-Uibo opted for just the 400m in Doha. But Asher-Smith arrived in Doha clearly prepared and difficult to beat. She was the picture of confidence in her heat and semi-final, cruising to easy victories in 22.32 and 22.16, respectively, the latter by far the fastest of the two rounds.
Brown came prepared as well. The runner-up at this year's US championships, the 24-year-old entered the season with a 22.44 best, which she lowered to 22.33 in the opening round two nights ago. She improved further to 22.22 to claim the eighth silver medal in the event for the US, and the 13th overall.
Further back, Mujinga Kambundji won the battle for bronze in 22.51 to claim Switzerland's first medal in any sprint.
The US took spots four and five with Anglerne Annelus and Dezerea Bryant coming through in 22.59 and 22.63, respectively.
Gina Bass, the first World Championships finalist from The Gambia, did her tiny west African nation of 2.1 million proud, finishing sixth in 22.71.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF