Dina Asher-Smith sets the pace in Manchester

Dina Asher-Smith sets the pace in Manchester

Dina Asher-Smith breezed through to the semi-final at the British Athletics Championships as her countdown to Tokyo continued.

The 25-year-old clocked 11.28 seconds to win the opening 100m heat at the Manchester Regional Arena.

The European 100 and 200 metres champion eased into Saturday’s semi-final, with the Championships doubling as the Olympic trials ahead of the Games next month.

“It’s really good to come here to the British Olympic trials. I want to earn the right to be in the next round, which means running well,” she said.

“I always believed it (Tokyo) was going to happen so it’s been quite easy to stay motivated. That goal never changes.”

Asher-Smith qualified fastest ahead of Daryll Neita and Asha Philip while CJ Ujah reached the men’s semi-final in 10.56secs.

European champion Zharnel Hughes won his heat in 10.50secs, with Andrew Robertson also taking first place to progress.

Matt Hudson-Smith, also a European champion, pulled out injured in the men’s 400m heat.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, heat winners Jessie Knight (56.88secs), Jessica Turner, (56.96secs), Lina Nielsen (57.66secs) and Meghan Beesley (57.53secs) all progressed to Saturday’s final.

It is the first time this century the Championships have not been broadcast on television after the BBC opted not to renew their broadcasting deal last year.

It is being streamed by British Athletics on YouTube and chief executive Joanna Coates insisted that has not harmed the sport.

“I think I said before that the BBC contract was up. We knew back in 2017 that that wasn’t going to continue and we haven’t changed the product,” she said.

“We’ve had athletes say that they want the product to look differently. We want to engage with new audiences, so we honestly believe that we need to own our own content and create something that goes out.

“People have said it’s not on TV but it is, it’s on a lot of smart TVs via YouTube. And we think that’s a better way to showcase the sport than it being hidden on the red button, and us having to pay for it to be on red button.

“As CEO, I don’t want to devalue the sport and I think giving it away for free devalues the sport.”