First Dina Asher-Smith sent an ominous warning to her Olympic rivals on the track by sauntering to the third-quickest 200m time of her career. Then she did it again with six well-chosen words and a smile: “I definitely have more in me.”
The 25-year-old’s time of 22.06sec in Florence broke a meeting record that had been held for 22 years by Marion Jones. And, for good measure, it was also the second fastest time in the world this year – just 0.03 behind Shaunae Miller-Uibo.
“It was really important to do a good race,” said Asher-Smith after thrashing Marie-Josée Ta Lou into second by 0.56 to claim her second Diamond League win of the season. “It’s been really hard because of the pandemic, so I’m really proud to be able to put in that kind of time.”
The rangy Miller-Uibo remains favourite for 200m gold in Tokyo, while the Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah are also in the mix. But Asher-Smith remains undefeated in 2021 and dangerous.
Earlier in Florence, Laura Muir nearly broke her 1500m British record but her time was only good enough for third in a thriller won by the Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan.
Just four days earlier in Hengelo Hassan had broken the 10,000m world record only to lose it 48 hours later, and she had warned that she would need to do more speedwork to compete over 1500m. But incredibly she was still able to hold off the Olympic champion, Faith Kipyegon, as she won in a world-leading time of 3min 53.63sec.
Muir lost ground with 200m to go but still ran 3:55.59, the second-best time of her career and a season’s best. “I’m really happy with this result – I think it’s my second-fast[est] time ever and just short of my British record,” she said. “To be able to run this fast in the time leading up to the Olympics, it feels really great.”
The good news for Muir is that Hassan is considering skipping the 1500m and doubling up over 5,000m and 10,000m in Tokyo instead, which would be a major boost to the Briton’s chances of a medal.
But perhaps the performance of the night came from the Norwegian 20-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen. He stormed to a brilliant win in the men’s 5,000m, setting a European record of 12min 48.45sec – the fastest time ever by someone born outside Africa. The world record holder, Joshua Cheptegei, could only finish a surprise sixth.
Britain’s Andrew Pozzi ran a season’s best of 13.25sec in the 110m hurdles but was beaten by the Olympic champion, Omar McLeod of Jamaica. In the men’s 100m, South Africa’s Akani Simbine edged out Britain’s CJ Ujah to win in 10.08sec.