Dina Asher-Smith’s task and GB medal hopes – British Athletics talking points

Dina Asher-Smith’s task and GB medal hopes – British Athletics talking points

The final countdown to the Olympics is on with the Games due to start in less than four weeks.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the talking points from the British Athletics Championships, and Olympic trials in Manchester.

What shape is Dina Asher-Smith in?

Muller British Athletics Championships 2021 – Day One – Manchester Regional Arena
Dina Asher-Smith won the 100m title in Manchester. (Martin Rickett/PA)

The world 100m and 200m champion took the British 100m title in 10.97 seconds and declared she was in great shape amid impressive results elsewhere.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – the 100m favourite – ran 10.71 seconds to claim the Jamaican title on Friday. She set a world lead of 10.63 seconds earlier this month.

Gabrielle Thomas also became the fastest woman since Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988 over 200m when she won the US Olympic trials in 21.61 seconds.

Asher-Smith will challenge them but the size of her task was laid bare over the weekend.

Will Mo Farah race again?

Muller British Athletics Championships 2021 – Day One – Manchester Regional Arena
Mo Farah was 19 seconds over the qualifying time in his 10,000m attempt. (Martin Rickett/PA)

The four-time Olympic champion failed in his last-ditch quest to make the plane to Tokyo on Friday.

He was 19 seconds outside the qualifying time in the 10,000m, meaning he will not defend the title he won in 2012 and 2016.

Farah said he would consider his future while coach Gary Lough insisted the 38-year-old would race again. Even if he does, Farah’s elite career is certainly over.

Who are the other medal contenders after the trials?

Aside from Asher-Smith and with Farah’s failure, others will be in the spotlight in Tokyo.

Laura Muir is planning to double in the 800m and 1500m and will challenge for the podium in both while Jemma Reekie, who is expected to focus on the 800m, can do well in Japan.

Rising star Keely Hodgkinson – who beat them both in the 800m on Sunday – can also announce herself on the global stage.

The only world class performance in Manchester was Holly Bradshaw’s clearance of 4.90m in the pole vault, the fourth best this year, and the 29-year-old has an excellent chance in Tokyo.

Who will the selectors take in the men’s 100m?

Muller British Athletics Championships 2021 – Day Two – Manchester Regional Arena
Zharnel Hughes was disqualified but is still expected to go to Tokyo. (Martin Rickett/PA)

CJ Ujah took the British title and qualified for Team GB after Zharnel Hughes’ false start saw him disqualified.

The European 100m champion already has the standard and will clearly be a selectors’ choice for Team GB.

Reece Prescod has shown little long-term form and Adam Gemili has the 100m standard so if he wants to double with the 200m the spot is surely his.

Can Adam Gemili avoid more heartbreak?

Few other athletes have gone through Gemili’s emotional rollercoaster. Fourth at the Rio Olympics by three thousands of a second, he suffered a repeat at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, finishing fourth again.

He says he is over it, preferring to look forward rather than back, but the times in the US trials over the weekend are ominous and he might not get as close again.

US prodigy, 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton, ran two personal bests of 19.88 seconds and 19.84 seconds to finish third in the 200m. Noah Lyles won the final in 19.74 ahead of Kenny Bednarek (19.78 seconds) and Knighton in 19.84 seconds. All are quicker than Gemili’s personal best of 19.97 seconds.