DOHA: Dina Asher-Smith ended Britain’s 36-year wait for a short sprint title at the World Championships on Wednesday as Grant Holloway of the United States stormed to victory in the 110 metres hurdles.
Asher-Smith, the silver medallist in the 100m, dominated a 200m field depleted by injuries and withdrawals to claim gold in 21.88 seconds at the Khalifa Stadium.
The 23-year-old becomes the first British woman in World Championship history to win either a 100m or 200m gold.
“I don’t know what to say, I don’t think it’s properly sunk in,” Asher-Smith told the BBC.
“I woke up today thinking ‘this is it. This is the moment you did all your work for’. The tiredness disappeared.
“I’m lost for words. I dreamt of this and now it’s real.”
Brittany Brown of the United States took silver in 22.22sec and Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland was third in 22.51sec.
A dramatic 110m hurdles final meanwhile saw the world leader Holloway clinch victory in 13.10sec after leading from start to finish.
Olympic and reigning world champion Omar McLeod looked to be closing on Holloway in the final stages, but crashed heavily at the final barrier.
Sergey Shubenkov, world champion in 2015, took silver in 13.15sec whilst Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde finished third in 13.18sec.
Asher-Smith and Holloway’s wins were the only two gold medals decided on the track on Wednesday.
The other gold came in the men’s hammer throw, where Pawel Fajdek of Poland successfully defended his 2017 crown after launching his fourth throw to 80.50m.
That was over two metres better than silver medallist Quentin Bigot of France, who finished second with 78.19m. Bence Halasz of Hungary was third with 78.18m.
The opening rounds of the decathlon meanwhile saw France’s reigning world champion and world record holder Kevin Mayer battling Canadians Damian Warner and Pierce LePage in the multi-discipline event.
Mayer opened the defence of his title with a personal best in the 100m, clocking 10.50sec to grab 975 points.
The Frenchman followed it with a season’s best leap in the long jump before erupting in celebration after launching a throw of 16.82m in the shot put.
After five events, however, Warner is in the gold medal position with 4,513 points, with LePage just behind on 4,486pts.
Mayer remains firmly in contention with 4,483pts heading into Thursday.
In the heptathlon, Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson is locked in a thrilling duel with Belgium’s reigning Olympic and world champion Nafissatou Thiam.
Johnson-Thompson recorded personal bests in the shot put and 100m hurdles as well as a season’s best of 23.08sec in the 200m to finish the day on 4,138 points.
With the final three of seven disciplines remaining, Johnson-Thompson leads Thiam by 96 points.
The competition concludes on Thursday with the long jump, javelin and 800m.
Thiam will aim to eat into Johnson-Thompson’s lead in the javelin, which is traditionally one of her British rival’s weaker events.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the men’s 400m witnessed a shock with Michael Norman, the world’s fastest man over the distance this year, bowing out in the semifinals.
Norman, 21, trailed home last in his semifinal with a time of 45.94sec.
Norman later revealed he had been struggling with a mystery injury to the lower half of his body for the past two months. “My body gave me warning signs today and I listened to them and made the executive choice to slow down instead of risking injury,” he told reporters. — AFP