Women's Sports: Beth Dobbin believes Dina Asher-Smith was 'robbed' of the victory lap she deserved

ATHLETICS-WORLD-2019-PODIUM

Dina Asher-Smith deserved more.

There was more cheer in the British team hotel; more appreciation in the BBC studio and more applause on Greg James' radio show than in the stands of the Khalifa International Stadium.

At the age of 23, Asher-Smith had become Britain's first ever female World 100-metre finalist, lowered the national record and collected the country's first short-sprint medal in 36 years.

But if you'd tuned in too late on Sunday evening, you wouldn't have known it.

I'm beginning to feel like a broken record when it comes to the poor attendances at the World Athletics Championships, but the victory parade for the women's 100m can't be ignored.

Poor turnout for 100m victory lap

There was a strange mixture of sadness and embarrassment with which the medalists celebrated, staring hopelessly at seats matching the flag of a country simply uninterested by the sport.

First and foremost, credit to the athletes for still completing the full 400 metres and offering inspiration to the few supporters that stayed to appreciate them.

However, in truth, it was upsetting to see and images of Asher-Smith, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Marie-Josee Ta Lou spread like wildfire across Twitter.

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Three

Outrage on Twitter

One user wrote: "Awesome job by Dina Asher-Smith to win silver! But really bad that the athletes have to walk around on victory lap in an empty stadium after training so hard for this moment." 

Another penned: "Shocking and such a shame for the athletes. The victory lap for Asher-Smith was heartbreaking."

And finally: "Doing a victory lap in front of approx 18 people: That’s surely not what world sport should be about. Great performance by Asher-Smith, deserved more people to see it."

But perhaps nobody put it better than Beth Dobbin. The former British champion, an all-round font of enthusiasm, had a real volition to her response when quizzed about Asher-Smith.

Beth Dobbin speaks the truth

Speaking in the mixed zone after her 200m heat, the Scot said: "It is disappointing that there isn't as many people as there should be in there, I'm not going to lie.

"I think it's contrasting because with Berlin, I didn't look into the crowd because there was so many people and I didn't want to get nervous. Whereas here, I didn't want to look up at the crowd for disappointment.

"I watched Dina's victory lap and that was a bit heart-breaking, because what she did was insane and no one was there.

"I feel like she was robbed of that moment. But I don't think it should take away from how good the athletes are performing at these championships, I think that's the priority for the headlines."

Damn straight, Beth, and it leaves the whole sport desperate to flaunt Asher-Smith's achievement as if young children showing a painting to their mother.

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Four

Asher-Smith deserved more

The sport is an easy target for many casual sports fans and embarrassing scenes like those on Sunday night - in spite of athletic brilliance - open the door for a whole catalogue of jokes and jibes.

Perhaps we should be as glass-half-hull as Asher-Smith herself, who will take ample satisfaction from the social media congratulations, words of her peers and the verdict from back home.

But this is the World Championships. This is where athletics should be celebrated unabashedly on the grandest scale of all - and the athletes themselves must be at the centre of that carnival.

These athletes work tooth and nail, sacrificing everything to perform at the highest level. The least they deserve in return is people to watch it, enjoy it and treasure it with their own two eyes.

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