FLORENCE: World 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith said Wednesday that Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s scintillating 10.63sec 100m run was “amazing” for the sport.
At the age of 34, and having taken time away from the track to give birth to a baby boy, Fraser-Pryce has hit some of the form of her life just six weeks before the Tokyo Olympics.
The Jamaican looks poised to be the women’s sprinter with the biggest target on her back, not least after the reigning world and two-time Olympic 100m champion’s performance at the Olympic Destiny meeting in Kingston on Saturday.
Only late US sprinting star Florence Griffith-Joyner, who holds the world record of 10.49sec, has run faster.
Britain’s Asher-Smith said Fraser-Pryce “is absolutely amazing, I sent her a message saying ‘Oh my god, you’re amazing’”.
“My coach sent me a video showing her leg speed and he said ‘this is what I’m talking about, you need to move your legs like that!’.”
Asher-Smith, who won the world 200m title in Doha in 2019 and silver in the 100m, added: “I’m a competitor, but you can’t ignore the fact Shelly-Ann is an amazing athlete.
“It’s amazing not only for her but also our sport,” the 25-year-old Londoner said of her rival’s new world leading time.
Turning to her own season, Asher-Smith admitted to some ring rustiness after time away from the track due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“To be fair, I’m definitely still getting back into swing of things,” she said.
“I’m definitely one of those people that when championships come I’m ready to go.”
Asher-Smith finished fifth in the 200m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but had the consolation of picking up a bronze with the 4x100m relay team. Likewise at the 2017 London worlds, she finished fourth in the 200m, but won relay silver.
A year later, she hit treble European gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay in Berlin.
“As always racing like anything else is a skill which you’re never, ever going to forget how to do,” said Asher-Smith, who qualified for the 100m at the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Games after running 10.92sec in Hengelo on the weekend. She also won the opening Diamond League meet in a rainswept Gateshead ahead of US sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson.
“But for me I need a few to warm up and I’m going to continue to navigate my way through the season and get to the Olympics in the best possible shape and the best shape to perform well out there.
“Not racing for a year you definitely have some rust to get rid of, 100 percent!”
Asher-Smith added: “I’m really excited to compete here tomorrow. I’m really excited to do another 200m. “I’ve had a good winter block of training, so I’m hoping to put together a good performance.”