WC Women’s 200 — The Favorite Made It Through

Dina Asher-Smith was one of the few from the top of the formchart who made the final, and she made the most of it. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

ATTRITION WAS a cruel factor as 6 from our formchart’s Top 10—including 4 of the top 5—either never started the heats or fell by the wayside in the rounds. Favored Dina Asher-Smith, however, rose to the occasion in striking fashion to win by the largest margin since Allyson Felix forged an 0.53 gap on the field in her ’07 victory. The European champ’s 21.88 time clipped 0.01 from her own British Record and left American Brittany Brown—thoroughly unexpected in the silver medal spot—0.34 behind.

Iowa alum Brown, whose collegiate high water mark was an NCAA 5th in ’18, PRed in the global spotlight with her 22.22 finish, an 0.20 reduction of her best from last year’s USATF. She also decisively outran the 22.51 bronze performance of Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji. Brown’s U.S. teammates Angie Annelus (22.59) and Dezerea Bryant (22.63) placed 4th and 5th.

The list of half-lappers sidelined before the final comprised an august quartet: Rio Olympics gold medalist Elaine Thompson (withdrew from her semi with an Achilles injury), runaway 100 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (passed to concentrate on the relay), ’15 & ’17 titlist Dafne Schippers (strained an adductor before the 100 final) and ’13 bronze medalist Blessing Okagbare (lane DQ in her heat). Faced with an impossible schedule for doubling, yearly leader Shaunae Miller-Uibo opted for the 400.

Fickle fortune for the stars who were waylaid or the toll of stretching the season into October? Asher-Smith might have wondered but she certainly evinced no doubts as she made the most of her opportunity to add gold to her silver in the 100. Her 22.16 led the semis by 0.30 with Brown next-fastest at 22.46.

Slotted in lane 7 for the final the next evening, Asher-Smith ate up the stagger on Bryant to her outside by about 70m and roared into the straight nearly a meter ahead of Brown in lane 6, with Bryant 3rd and Kambundji 4th. Down the stretch she pulled away inexorably and crossed the line without a lean more than 2½m in front of Brown. To secure bronze, Kambundji, who did lean, withstood a spirited stretch drive by ’19 USC junior Annelus one corridor to her right in 5.

The first Briton, woman or man, to win a World 200 gold—and with the fastest time ever recorded in October—Asher-Smith, 23, was asked how it felt to have blazed a new trail for her nation’s sprinters. “It feels good because as women in sport we always try and push boundaries and redefine what’s possible,” she said. “Not just British women but Allyson Felix and Shelly-Ann. But we’ve got so many British women sprinters coming up, so we know the future is bright. Hopefully, we’ll see far more British women sprinters on the podium in the future.”

Asked if a younger DAS would have believed she would one day win a Worlds crown, her response rang genuine: “I don’t think she would believe it. I remember being at my first World Championships in Moscow [’13] when I was 17 and being so scared. I was sweating holding the relay baton in my hands and being scared it was going to fall out.”

Brown’s astonishing medal run came through hard work, not just on the track but off. “I moved from California to Iowa to go to college and had to work all sorts of odd jobs,” she said. “I was a caregiver, I worked with people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, I worked as a waitress. So I grinded. Being a professional athlete and going to college you have to be financially stable. It has been hard.”

Kambundji, 27, brought home Switzerland’s first Worlds sprint medallion. “When I made my first global final [in the ’18 Indoor 60] that was unbelievable for me. And when I saw it was possible to get a medal here I was so happy. I did a good race. I was so often 4th and 5th, or 9th. But sometimes it works and today was a good day, so I am very happy.”


WC WOMEN’S 200 RESULTS

FINAL

(October 02; wind +0.9) (temperature 79F/26C; humidity 59%)

1. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 21.88 NR;

2. Brittany Brown (US) 22.22 PR;

3. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 22.51;

4. Angie Annelus (US) 22.59;

5. Dezerea Bryant (US) 22.63;

6. Gina Bass (Gam) 22.71;

7. Ivet Lalova-Collio (Bul) 22.77;

8. Tynia Gaither (Bah) 22.90

Lanes: 2. Bass; 3. Lalova-Collio; 4. Kambundji; 5. Annelus; 6. Brown; 7. Asher-Smith; 8. Bryant; 9. Gaither

Reaction times: 0.138 Asher-Smith; 0.150 Kambundji; 0.152 Gaither; 0.160 Lalova-Collio; 0.162 Bass; 0.163 Bryant; 0.199 Annelus; 0.228 Brown

HEATS

(September 30)

I(-0.3)–1. Anthonique Strachan (Bah) 22.86; 2. Kamaria Durant (Tri) 23.08; 3. Shashalee Forbes (Jam) 23.15;

4. Sarah Atcho (Swi) 23.29; 5. Phil Healy (Ire) 23.56; 6. Zoe Hobbs (NZ) 23.94.

II(0.2)–1. Lalova-Collio 22.79; 2. Jodie Williams (GB) 22.80; 3. Kambundji 22.81; 4. Basant Mohamed Awad (Egy) 22.88;

5. Xiaojing Liang (Chn) 23.27; 6. Mauricia Prieto (Tri) 23.33; 7. Sindija Bukša (Lat) 23.53; 8. Suseendran Archana (Ind) 23.65.

III(0.7)–1. Brown 22.33 PR; 2. Elaine Thompson (Jam) 22.61; 3. Lisa Marie Kwayie (Ger) 22.77 PR; 4. Maja Mihalinec (Slo) 22.78 PR; 5. Marileidy Paulino (DR) 23.04;

6. Gunta Vaičule (Lat) 23.32; 7. Vitoria Cristina Rosa (Bra) 23.81.

IV(0.4)–1. Asher-Smith 22.32; 2. Bryant 22.56; 3. Gaither 22.57; 4. Jamile Samuel (Hol) 22.90; 5. Crystal Emmanuel (Can) 23.00; 6. Jessica-Bianca Wessolly (Ger) 23.10;

7. Gloria Hooper (Ita) 23.33; 8. Gulsunbi Sharifova (Tjk) 23.45.

V(0.8)–1. Amina Seyni (Nig) 22.58 PR; 2. Tatjana Pinto (Ger) 22.63 PR; 3. Bass 22.67;

4. Olga Safronova (Kaz) 23.16; 5. Lorraine Martins (Bra) 23.56; 6. Man Zhang (Chn) 23.60; 7. Shanti Veronica Pereira (Sin) 24.00;… dq[lane]—Blessing Okagbare (Ngr).

VI(-0.1)–1. Annelus 22.56; 2. Carolle Zahi (Fra) 22.99; 3. Beth Dobbin (GB) 23.14;

4. Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (Blr) 23.22; 5. Imke Vervaet (Bel) 23.24 PR; 6. Rafailía Spanoudáki-Hatziríga (Gre) 23.48; 7. Schillonie Calvert-Powell (Jam) 23.52;… dq[lane]—Natacha Ngoye (Con).

SEMIS

(October

I(0.4)–1. Annelus 22.49; 2. Kambundji 22.49;

3. Emmanuel 22.65; 4. Seyni 22.77; 5. Williams 22.78; 6. Samuel 23.02; 7. Pinto 23.11; 8. Forbes 23.14.

II(0.4)–1. Brown 22.46; 2. Gaither 22.57; 3. Lalova-Collio 22.58;

4. Awad 22.92; 5. Zahi 23.03; 6. Dobbin 23.11; 7. Wessolly 23.37;… dnc—Thompson.

III(0.5)–1. Asher-Smith 22.16; 2. Bryant 22.56; 3. Bass 22.60;

4. Mihalinec 22.81; 5. Kwayie 22.83; 6. Paulino 23.03; 7. Durant 23.44; 8. Strachan 25.44.