Dina Asher-Smith could not hold back her tears after pulling out of the Olympics with a hamstring injury having failed to make the 100m final.
Asher-Smith told the BBC she did not plan to compete in the 200m, the event in which she is world champion, after conversations with her coach, John Blackie. She also revealed that she had kept the extent of her hamstring injury suffered at the GB trials a secret such was her desire to compete for Team GB at the Tokyo Games.
“I think I am likely to pull out of the 200,” she said. “I am going to pull out. John has told me it’s a no. Obviously I am so disappointed not to make the final,” she added on BBC Radio 5 live. “It’s everything I have trained for for the last two years. The last two weeks of my life have been absolutely insane. I wanted to come and be completely up front with everyone on my form.
“I tore [the hamstring] pretty bad. I was told it would take surgery and would take three to four months to get back. I went and got a second opinion – and it was a slight misdiagnosis. It wasn’t a rupture. My hamstring was still attached. “I went from: ‘Oh, I can’t go’ to ‘Maybe I can’.”
But though Asher-Smith did make it to Tokyo, she was unconvincing in the heats and qualified joint 11th fastest after running 11.07sec. Though she promised after that she had more to come, she only managed 11.05 in the semi-final, not enough for one of the fastest loser’s spots.
She lost out to fellow Team GB sprinter Daryll Neita, whose time of 11 seconds flat earned her a fastest loser spot to ensure a Briton on the start line. Neita went on to finish eighth and last in the final, in a time of 11.12.
“Obviously I was not my normal self,” Asher-Smith added. “I was in really good shape [before the trials], the shape of my life. I felt I was going to win this. But I had the low of being told: ‘It’s impossible for you to be there’ and then: ‘There’s a chance.’ It has been a journey. I am so proud to come out here and run 11 seconds off a few weeks’ training.”
The third British entrant, Asha Philip, came eighth in the second heat in 11.30 and did not progress to the final.