Dina Asher-Smith became the fastest British woman over 200 metres when she won Gold in Doha last night
A few months ago, she was juggling four hours of training a day with a dissertation on how jazz shaped America.
Yesterday history graduate Dina Asher-Smith etched her own name into the record books – becoming the first British woman to win a sprinting title at the World Athletics Championships.
The 23-year-old raced to victory in the 200m in Doha last night, powering home in just 21.88 seconds. She was cheered on in Qatar by mother Julie, a human resources manager, and father Winston, a mechanical engineer.
After crossing the finish line she burst into tears as she hugged her mother in the stands.
Mrs Asher-Smith is credited with playing a key part in her daughter’s sporting development – by offering prizes from computer games to a Chanel handbag if she hit certain targets.
Former Team GB athlete Darren Campbell recalls Mrs Asher-Smith’s influence when he met her daughter, then an aspiring runner aged 12, and asked if she wanted to try on his Olympic medal. Her mother replied: ‘No. The first one she will try on will be her own.’ Born Geraldina, the sprinter grew up an only child in the family’s semi-detached home in Orpington, south-east London.
During an active childhood, the youngster tried diving, hockey and swimming, while also learning the trumpet and euphonium.
Dina won gold on day six of the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships which were held in Doha, Qatar in the Kahalifa International Stadium
Dina’s proud parents, Winston, centre and Julie, right, were in the crowd to watch their daughter bring home Gold for Britain in a national record winning time
However, the track has proved to be her enduring love – ever since she was coaxed to the local athletics club as an eight-year-old by a friend offering the reward of a free ice cream.
For all her sporting success, Miss Asher-Smith has described the best morning of her life as the moment she received her A-Level results during the 2014 European Championships.
Her three As – following nine A* grades at GCSEs – landed her a place studying history at King’s College, London, where she continued to train for up to four hours a day, six days a week. She graduated with first-class honours in 2017. She has become known among fellow runners for her relentless will to succeed, which sees her give up wine, bread and sweets in the weeks before major competitions. She also temporarily deletes social media apps from her phone – including her beloved Instagram.
Such drastic measures have reaped rich rewards. In addition to her athletic achievements, Miss Asher-Smith has secured lucrative sponsorship deals with brands including Nike and luxury watchmaker Hublot.
The self-described ‘renaissance woman’ has graced a string of glossy magazine covers – and even walked the runway at Paris Fashion Week last year.
Last night’s victory came two days after she picked up a silver medal in the 100m, setting a new national record with a personal best of 10.83 seconds.
Yesterday she went one better – raising expectations for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo. Miss Asher-Smith hopes to become the first British female sprinter to reach the podium in 60 years.