n less time than it takes to blink, Dina Asher-Smith missed out on a bronze medal in the 200m in her home city of London at last month’s IAAF World Championships.
For some it could be agonising, painful, despairing. It could put a blot on the winter ahead. All that training, and to be so close - and then so far.
It is likely the reigning European 200m champion Asher-Smith, 21, is not going through any of those emotions because if she is, she is pretty good at disguising them.
As she chats, her voice gushes with enthusiasm, bubbles with excitement and brightens up a dull day when you digest the athletics agony someone can go through and still have the same ambition as when they started.
“Running a 22.2 off not much training is pretty good for me,” she said. “I am looking to go faster in the near future.”
The ‘22.2’ she is talking about is the 22.22 which will take its place in the history books, showing her in fourth in the 200m final at the London Stadium, running from lane eight and pipped to bronze by Shaunae Miller-Uibo from the Bahamas who took bronze with a late run from lane five in 22.15.
All’s well that ends well, though.
When the curtain came down on the championships, Asher-Smith left with a silver medal from the 4x100m relay. Not bad for an athlete who in February broke a bone in her right foot and whose year - let alone her winter - looked over.
Having only returned to the track at the end of June, she is already brimming with anticipation for what lies ahead in 2018.
As Berlin co-hosts the inaugural multi-sport European Championships with Glasgow next summer, the final of the 200m in the Olympic Stadium in the German capital will be something to behold.
Wearing the orange of the Netherlands will be Dafne Schippers, the double European champion in 2014 who is now a double world champion over 200m. In the race where Asher-Smith just missed on the podium, Schippers retained her title in 22.05.
By Berlin, Asher-Smith hopes to be going even faster, though she knows the task that she faces.
“It could be quite a race,” she said. “Hopefully I will have an injury-free summer next year and would have done some good stuff at the World Indoor Championships and Commonwealths Games but Dafne is an absolutely phenomenal athlete. I don’t think I have ever beaten her at 200m.
“It is something to aim, for but she is absolutely incredible – a double world champion.”
Asher-Smith is Great Britain’s fastest woman, her record-breaking times packed into the summer of 2015 where she ran the 100m in 10.99 and the 200m in 22.07. Last year, she soared around the bend at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam to win the European gold in 22.37 in a championships where Schippers retained her 100m crown.
But it is what she has achieved this summer off so little training that has given her new belief of what she can now produce if she can stay injury free.
“To have run a 22.2, I was really happy,” said Asher-Smith. “But when I looked back I thought: ‘if I had had a couple of weeks more training, it might have been a different result.'”
It will be a busy 2018 for her, with those IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March and then a month later the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast before the European Championships in Berlin from August 7-12.
She will be there with the remnants of the past possibly still with her – the metal screws in her foot.
“They can stay in for as long as I want, it is up to me,” she says. “I will make that choice over the next year or two years. It still needs a lot of TLC but I have passed the danger point.”
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images