Dina Asher-Smith: The making of a world champion

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By Saj Chowdhury
BBC Sport in Doha
Miss Mandy Papadopoulos understood.
Prior to expert, any trainer or analyst, it was Papadopoulos, a former instructor in Perry Hall Primary School, that understood Dina Asher-Smith would become a world champion.
The achievement of being the first woman to win Olympic sprint title or a world with victory in the 200m at the World Championships of the 23-year-old appeared pre-destined, according to others who have observed the athlete older and her childhood class tutor.
I remember having her my team on sports she was astonishing, Papadopoulos told BBC Sport. We were a few points behind and needed to win the last race – and who was in that previous leg of this relay? Dina!
She flew like the wind and abandoned most of us speechless. What a conclusion!
Papadopoulos said the student was keen and was a member of their history club in the Orpington school, in addition to being a natural athlete.
Dina was a kind, considerate and popular girl with a great sense of humor, Papadopoulos added.
Asher-Smiths first school PE teacher, clare Hudson, recalled she didnt know if to select her for the distance or rush events though former head teacher Angela Ward said the hated cross-country since she was good at both.
Ironically, it was during a cross-country race in Crystal Palace that Asher-Smith was spotted by her existing athletics club Blackheath and Bromley Harriers and coach John Blackie, whom the Briton refers to as hersecond dad having now been with him since the age of eight.
In a column in the Telegraph, Asher-Smith explained how crucial the trainer was in her mental and physical development as an athlete.
My coach John is like family , she said. Lots of individuals wonder about him, as he is not the kind of individual to seek out the limelight and need additional attention.
Hes happy within himself and finds joy in encouraging the others and allow them to fulfill their potential. Hes a humble and kind person, and I love him to bits.
His service and the her parents let as she procured the A-levels needed to study history at Kings College 35, Asher-Smith to pursue instructional dreams and her track.
Denise Lewis, who obtained heptathlon gold for Britain at Sydney 2000, told BBC Sport it is that powerful will to reach her potential in all aspects of her life which sets her apart.
Shes excellent art for academia and made the decision she wished to finish university and do sports too, the 47-year-old said.
Dina has always had a fantastic mindset. Her success is not something which has only happened – as she has evolved its come. She has always been a determined young lady.
Olympic 200m silver and planet 100m bronze medallist Darren Campbell also recognized that this was an athlete worth investing money and time in, having first met Asher-Smith 10 years ago.
I set up a school fundraising initiative with the overdue Todd Bennett, who was able to operate 400m, Campbell told the BBC.
When we were launching case the first grant we gave away was to Dina. So probably from that meeting you knew that she had been a young athlete that had dreams and I believe thats so important.
We are talking about somebody who will line up against the best sprinters that Great Britain has ever produced – the likes of former world and Olympic champion Linford Christie. Thats how unique Dina Asher-Smith is.
Since she became double European sprint champion in 2013, her career trajectory has gone one way.
Earlier she became the first British sprinter to operate 100m under 11 minutes in 2015 A world junior title followed in 2014.
An European indoor 60m silver has been her first major senior trophy before she left a big leap coming fifth in the 2015 World Championships 200m with a gorgeous time of 22.07 – a national record at the time.
Belief grew.
She became European champion in 2016 and edged closer to a international podium finish with a fourth place in Rio 2016.
Last year the European treble was likely a foregone conclusion, but it was the way she did it – 10.85 from the 100m and 21.89 in the 200m – and also Asher-Smith then anchored Great Britain to victory in the 4x100m relay final.
Afterward she sent in Doha. The 100m silver Sunday was the very first individual world trophy won by a British female because Kathy Cook at 1983 followed finally by the historical triumph in her event event in a British record time of 21.88 minutes. And also the gold Wednesday watched her become the first British woman to win a international sprint name.
British triple-jump winner Naomi Ogbeta stated Asher-Smith is the successor to current British sports icons.
In relation to British sport she can change matters, that the 21-year-old told BBC Sport.
We havent really had someone this recognisable because the days of Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah. Dina is bringing the entire team up.
But perhaps the final word should go to her head teacher Ward.
Dina always aimed high. When things did not work out as she wanted shed double her efforts and work even more difficult – she wasnt one to quit, she explained.
Shes an inspiration. Consistently a great personality, filled with energy and fun. She still makes time for Perry Hall Primary School in which it began – we are so proud of her.
The boys have a walk on the wild side
It has among the widest ranges of choice from leaps, in game and throws to space and cross country running or sprints.
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