Birmingham Grand Prix: Dina Asher-Smith shines to take second in 200m ‘Olympic final’


Dina Asher-Smith underlined why is she seen as a World Championships medal contender with an impressive display in the 200m at the Birmingham Grand Prix.

The British double European champion finished second behind Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who has opted to compete in the 400m in Doha.

“This was like a Olympic or world final so it would have been a silver,” said Asher-Smith, referring to the field.

“It was fantastic to be able to run against this class at home.”

Asher-Smith led with about 40m of the race remaining before 6ft 1in Miller-Uibo, the world number one over 200m last season, eased past to take victory in 22.24 seconds. The 23-year-old clocked 22.36 and Jamaica’s London 2012 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, claimed third in 22.50.

The field, that included double world 200m champion Dafne Schippers, double world sprint silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare – the second fastest woman this season – all struggled in the cool, windy conditions.

The only major absentee from the line-up was Jamaica’s double Rio champion Elaine Thompson.

Briton Asher-Smith has her sights set on the sprint double at the World Championships, which begin on 28 September, and confirmed she would be competing in the 100m at the British trials in Birmingham next week.

In the men’s 100m, Jamaica’s Yohan Blake beat Briton Adam Gemili by eight thousandths of a second as both men crossed the line in 10.07 seconds.

Gemili won world junior gold over 100m in 2012 and European 200m gold in 2014, but has seen his progress hampered by injuries during the past two seasons.

The 25-year-old told BBC Sport: “This is all part of the process. We’ve got the British trials for Doha next week where I’ll be competing in both sprints. I’m glad to be healthy and I’m taking each race at a time.”

‘Dina might be on that podium in Doha’

BBC Athletics analyst Denise Lewis, Britain’s Sydney 2000 heptathlon champion

“Dina put her foot down from the start and tried to unnerve Miller-Uibo. She did the damage in first 120m and then it was about keeping her composure and about how much she could hang on to Miller-Uibo in the end.

“Dina is very much involved in her training programme and understands what she needs to do. We’re used to seeing Dina fade in those last few metres, but now she can hold her form better and that might unnerve her opponents. If she’s in the right place at the right time then she might be on that podium in Doha.”

Olympic and world heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam beat British rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson by a centimetre to win a keenly contested long jump contest.

Belgian Thiam came into the competition having set a new personal best of 6.67m in June, but broke that mark with 6.74m before going further in the next round with a brilliant 6.86m.

World indoor heptathlon champion Johnson-Thompson, the 2012 world junior gold medallist in this event, produced two fouls with her first two efforts before soaring out to 6.85m with her sixth and final jump.

Serbian Rio 2016 bronze medallist Ana Spanovic also leapt to 6.85m, but took second spot as a result of a better set of jumps.

Another Briton, Abigail Irozuru, finished fourth with a World Championships qualifying-standard leap of 6.75m.

‘I’m pretty happy with that after four months out’ – Hudson-Smith

The wind affected the men’s 400m where no competitor managed to dip under 45 seconds. The race was run by Jamaica’s Akeen Bloomfield in 45.04, while Briton Matthew Hudson-Smith finished a credible third with 45.55 in his first major race of the season, following a succession on injuries.

The European champion told BBC Sport: “I’ve only been training for a month so I’m pretty happy with that. I got to 300m and realised how much lactic hurt.

“I’ve been out for four months so I’m pretty pleased with that.”

The conditions also affected some of the athletes in the women’s pole vault, including Briton Holly Bradshaw, who finished sixth having only cleared 4.55m – she managed 4.72m in Lausanne last month. The event was won by Olympic and world champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece with 4.75m.

Elsewhere, Jamaica’s Olympic and world champion Omar McLeod eased to victory in 110m hurdles with a time of 13.21 seconds and compatriot Danielle Williams recorded a big win over American world record holder Kendra Harrison in the 100m hurdles.

The 2015 world champion clocked 12.46 seconds and Harrison, who struggled in her heat, took second with 12.66.