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Dina Asher-Smith ‘in disbelief’ over dismal 100m final performance at world championships

 (PA)
(PA)

In the immediate aftermath of finishing eighth in the women's 100m final at the World Athletics Championships, Dina Asher-Smith stood in disbelief, unable to explain what had gone wrong.

Ahead of Budapest, she had run her fastest ever pre-championship race and had set her sights on a personal best and a medal.

Instead, she looked mystified after just sneaking out of her semi-final and then clocking 11 seconds dead in the final. In an era of women's sprinting, which last weekend she likened to Usain Bolt, it left her as little more than an also ran.

Asher-Smith has earned a reputation as a championship performer with eight global medals. On this occasion, she barely featured.

"I'm very disappointed with today," she said. "I'm almost in disbelief. I know I'm in great shape. I ran 10.8 a few weeks ago. It doesn't really happen to me. That's why I'm so surprised."

In truth, even a PB would likely not have been enough for an on-song Asher-Smith to pick up a medal as American Sha'Carri Richardson clocked a championship record of 10.65sec ahead of Jamaica's Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The 27-year-old Briton was adamant there was no injury, despite conjecture there might have been when she pulled up a little towards the end of her semi. She later explained she had struggled to feel her legs in the final metres of that race but there was no major issue to report.

"I crossed the line, got on with it, made the final and felt absolutely fine during the final," said Asher-Smith (right, after the race). Shaking her head, she simply called it "a mad day".

Asher-Smith has a second chance in the 200m, traditionally her stronger event, where she is a former world champion. On paper, though, she is only 12th fastest in the world this year.

She refused to talk about it as a shot at redemption after coming up well short over the shorter distance.

"I would never say that [redemption], because every single race is a clean slate and, if you carry stuff from the previous races… if it's great maybe you rest on your laurels, if it's not great, you carry unnecessary stuff with you," she said.

"So, I'll just have a day, draw a line. I've got another shot in the 200m. I've been training really well and running well, so I'll just take a day and go again. Regroup, reboot."

Like Asher-Smith, Richardson had struggled to make her way into the final but, from the outside lane, eclipsed the field for a first world title. The American had missed the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics after a short ban for cannabis and fell off the radar last season. In Budapest, she had declared, "I'm not back, I'm better", and so it proved. After her golden run, she said: "I always say never give up."

It was Britain's first night of these championships without a medal. Laura Muir is the only realistic chance to add to that tally on night four this evening, but the Scot has her work cut out, having struggled to match the top three in her 1500m semi-final.

Faith Kipyegon, the greatest middle distance runner of her generation, looks a class apart in the field for the final.