Published on November 19, 2013 | by David Drake0
Dina Asher-Smith: Learning fastAt just 17 years of age, Dina Asher-Smith has already achieved great things in her sport. She set an under-13 world record in 2009 when she ran 300 meters in 39.16 seconds (a record which still stands today) and dominated the English Schools Championships on numerous occasions in the 200m category.
Despite such achievements, Asher-Smith remains composed and resolute for the future, not allowing her success to go to her head.
When asked what she hopes to achieve next, she replies like the professional she is: “Maintaining fitness, to ensure I’m in good shape for upcoming events, that I remain working hard and that I pass my A-levels.”
We all know in order to be an athlete, to hone and prime your body ensuring it is in shape for an event requires long devoted hours to training and conditioning.
Along with that is the added burden of travelling, which is not just a few hours commute by train or coach to Birmingham, Sheffield, or Edinburgh for Asher-Smith.
In the case of this young athlete we are talking about flights to Germany for the Bauhaus Junioren Gala and Switzerland for the Diamond League Weltklasse and to Italy for the European Athletics Junior Championships and, of course, finally to Moscow, for the World Championships.
All this talk of travelling with Team GB, being a champion, staying fit and setting long-term goals, the mention of A-levels sounds so trivial, which is testament to how grounded and attentive she is.
For many teenagers, juggling preparation for exams, deadline dates and revision is the norm, yet for Asher-Smith, planning for an event and studying for exams go hand-in-hand.
She explained: “Athletics has made me a better student. I know that I have to do my homework and study in the time I get otherwise it won’t get done at all, unlike other students who may leave it and end up not doing it.”
Some may look at this as working at full capacity, almost operation overload, but for the Blackheath and Bromley racer it offers structure, precedes a good work ethic and has, so far, proved hugely successful.
Representing Great Britain as a member of the 4x100m relay team at the World Championships in Moscow back in August, and winning a bronze medal is the highest ranked accomplishment for Asher-Smith to date.
Clearly extremely excited and enthusiastic to chronicle every episode of the whole experience, beginning with the phone call from her coach, Asher-Smith recalled: “I remember getting a call from my coach asking if I want to go to Russia, to which I replied why do I want to go to Russia? It was only when the coach mentioned the dates that I remembered that was the time of the World Championships.”
Nevertheless, it was more than just winning a medal; it actually brought the team together and did a lot for the discipline itself.
“Athletics has made me a better student. I know that I have to do my homework and study in the time I get otherwise it won’t get done at all, unlike other students who may leave it and end up not doing it.” – Dina Asher-Smith
She said: “Because we’re all pretty new, the team was pretty young and we’re actually really good friends so it meant a lot for us individually and as a team, and we also did really well for British men and women’s relay.”
However, there was also some controversy over the medals. In the actual race the GB girls were out of the medals in fourth place, pipped to the post by winners Russia, the United States taking second spot and the French quartet in third.
It was only after the race and the medal ceremony that Team GB found out that the French team had been disqualified, thus meaning they were due the bronze medal.
Asher-Smith explained: “Anna [4x100m relay teammate Annabelle Lewis] received news on her phone of the disqualification of the French team. We were so excited, we were screaming and running down the corridor in the hotel, but none of the other teams knew what was going on.”
With the London 2012 Olympic Games well and truly over, we are still plagued by this enormous ‘legacy’ issue, which continues to spark debate, haunt politicians and offer unrealistic promises to sports clubs and societies.
As a rising star, with a foothold in both the grassroots level at Blackheath and Bromley Athletics Club [AC], and in the elite with the GB team, what better person to offer an insight about the success rate of this whole charade.
“I’ve seen a massive increase at my club [Blackheath and Bromley AC]. There were a load of new people at the start, and it’s also nice to see that many of them have stayed despite the hard work.”
Asher-Smith went on to say that: “A friend of mine from the club also does triathlons, and she has said that there have been a huge number of people coming along to training and events too.”
So as Asher-Smith’s future looks increasingly bright, the conveyor belt of talent could well be better than ever as the ‘Inspire a Generation’ tagline from London 2012 shows green shoots of life at least as far as Asher-Smith is concerned.