IAAF president Lord Coe insists Dina Asher-Smith is world class and ready to take on the best sprinters on the planet after witnessing her stunning European treble.
Sprinter Asher-Smith made history to claim 100, 200 and 4×100 metres relay gold at the European Championships in Berlin
She became the first Briton to win all three titles at the championships, setting three world-leading times in the process, and Coe expects the 22-year-old to shine at next year’s World Championships in Doha.
The head of world athletics’ governing body said: “She’s there (world class). You grab these moments because they don’t always come around and you’re only an injury away from oblivion. But she’s now clearly identified herself as one of the key players next year.
“The great thing about Dina is that she strikes me as being, of all the athletes I’ve seen recently, the one who really just clearly loves big championship racing.
“It’s so nice to see somebody that walks out into a stadium and you just know that she feels at home there.”
It was a breakthrough championships for several British stars, with Zharnel Hughes winning the men’s 100m title while Laura Muir claimed her first outdoor title in the 1500m.
With the impending retirement of Greg Rutherford, the end of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s career and Mo Farah’s switch to the road, British Athletics has needed the next generation of track stars to emerge.
Coe believes Asher-Smith, who defended her 200m title from 2016, is one of the leading lights because she has depth.
He said: “Yes, absolutely. The great thing about Dina is that she’s interesting. I talked to her a few years ago and we were chatting about the fact that she was doing a history degree and she said, ‘I’m buried in my dissertation at the moment’.
“It was the impact that jazz has had on social integration, so I said, ‘well this is actually more interesting than athletics’.
“She’s able to be objective about what she does which is really important — there are other things in her world.”
British Athletics performance director Neil Black echoed Coe’s comments and admitted that Asher-Smith’s dominance – where she left 200m world champion Dafne Schippers trailing – blew him away.
“They were out of this world and it might sound a bit corny but they were a coming of age too,” he said.
“I don’t think we ever really believed that a British sprinter would outshine the guys and produce such world-leading performances.
“We knew that Dina had loads of talent and we all talked about it. But I just think what she’s done with three gold medals is incredible. There are few words to describe it.
“It’s better than anything I’ve seen, really. She has been so focused, so determined, so professional and so calm.”
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