Michelle's Verdict: Everyone spoke about Usain Bolt, but now we have Dina Asher-Smith


Over the coming days, former Olympian Michelle Griffith-Robinson will be analysing the biggest talking points and results from the World Athletics Championships.

In her first segment of punditry for GIVEMESPORT, there was no better athlete to comment on than Dina Asher-Smith, who made British sporting history by winning the 200 metres last night.

The 23-year-old has long been celebrated for World and Olympic relay medals, as well as success on the European stage, but her maiden individual crown was something special to behold.

Griffith-Robinson was live in the Khalifa International stadium as the history unfolded, getting a good glimpse of both Asher-Smith's performance and the emotional celebrations that came afterwards.

I quizzed the former athlete on everything from how Asher-Smith carries herself, inspires the next generation and serves as proof that - with the right mindset - you can achieve your dreams.

What were your thoughts on Asher-Smith's winning performance?

Michelle: Gosh, it was an emotional performance actually. To think that this beautiful, young and articulate lady actually won her first junior title back in 2013 and six years on, she's come on to the world stage and created history. It's absolutely magnificent and being live here in the stadium last night, it was electric. Despite the crowds that people have been going on about, we've formed our own little British tribe here.

I'm very blessed to witness this young girl coming through and on to the main stage, shining and making positive news in the British newspapers. It's fantastic to see.

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How momentous was her gold for British sport?

Michelle: We're on the up. We have got a global superstar. Everyone was talking about Usain Bolt all these times, saying we need a star but we've actually got a homegrown star from Britain. We have a girl from Kent that has just blown up on the world stage. Roll on Tokyo 2020, we've got a lot of exciting things to come from Dina Asher-Smith. We've got a lot to smile about.

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And we saw the night before, Dina helping the injured Bahamian athlete, she’s such a brilliant human being as well…

Michelle: That goes back to the Olympic and Paralympic values of friendship, excellence, respect, determination, inspiration, courage and equality. I think Dina demonstrates a lot of those things. And you saw on Tuesday, even though she had another race to go, she still took the time out to look out for another athlete. That’s not something that’s taught to you, that’s her innate quality and that’s what makes her such a brilliant role model for Great Britain.

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I know your daughters have met Dina before, just how much do they look up to her?

Michelle: My daughters are two little black girls with huge aspirations to do well and that’s their role model. That’s what they look up to, because Dina is also a very bright and intelligent young girl. She graduated from King’s College with a degree in history, so the fact she marries athletics and education together is brilliant.

The other night, I was at my boarding school in Devon, she was on the television, and I said to the kids around me that were watching her: ‘When you say you can’t do something or you don’t have time to do your sport, this is a girl who was doing her A-Levels and still competing with the very best. This is a girl who was doing her degree and was fourth in the world at the time, so don’t tell me you can’t do something.' If the desire is big enough, you will achieve it.

How would your perspective on athletics change if your younger self was watching the sport in the modern day?

Michelle: I think it would change completely. I think I would have listened a lot more to my coach. I think one thing that comes through from Dina is her full trust in her coach and the relationship they’ve had together since she was age 8. She’s now 23, so there’s been that 15 years of trust. So, I think I would have put more trust in my coach, trust that relationship and trust the people around me a lot more.

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How important are some of Dina’s passions, such as fashion, in showing her off and celebrating her in mainstream media?

Michelle: I think it just shows there’s more to her than a one-string bow, which is another thing that we always push for our children and for the future generations. Don’t just do sport, there’s so much more to you than just sport and sport is more than just medals. Dina is showing that. She’s showing that she can transfer a lot of her abilities into everyday life, like politics if she wants to in the future.

I think she transcends right through the stream of what it takes to be a good person and a good citizen in today’s society.

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