Diamond League: Dina Asher-Smith reveals Allyson Felix is her inspiration

Allyson Felix, Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith has revealed Allyson Felix has been her inspiration as the Brit prepares to face the US Sprinter in Thursday’s 200m Diamond League race in Rome. 

Felix, who has won 20 major championship gold medals and is the most decorated track and field athlete in Olympic history, will retire at the end of this season. 

Meanwhile, Asher-Smith is the fastest woman in recorded history and won gold in the 200m at the 2019 World Championships. 

Asher-Smith lauds ‘legendary’ Felix

Felix will be remembered not just as an outstanding sprinter but also as a trailblazer for female athletes worldwide. 

The American forced Nike to change their policy on pregnant athletes –– ensuring nobody would lose out on pay if they become pregnant. 

“She’s an absolute legend, an icon of grace and dignity,” Asher-Smith said. 

“She has done so much for us, so much for our sport. I can now have the feasible option to go and have a child and come back without the stress over whether my career would be the same when I do.

“A lot of us have her to thank for that.”

Felix

Asher-Smith also stressed that the point at which she felt like a professional athlete was when she came up against Felix for the first time. 

“I remember the first time I raced her. It was 2015 in Birmingham and I felt like I was now a professional athlete because I was in a race with Allyson [Felix]. 

“It is an absolutely amazing line-up [on Thursday] and personally I feel really privileged to be in a race with Allyson in her retirement season.”

Dina Asher-Smith at Tokyo 2020

Who else is competing in Rome? 

Alongside Asher-Smith and Felix, there are a number of other star-studded names competing in Rome. 

Reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah will likely start as the favourite, while Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who claimed 400m gold in Tokyo, is also set to take part. 

Miller-Uibo has confirmed she will move away from the 400m after this summer.  The Bahamian told BBC Sport that she planned to turn to multi-eventing.

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