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Tokyo Olympics: Dina Asher-Smith happy to get Olympics under way after reaching women's 100m semi-finals

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Dina Asher-Smith has much bigger Olympic goals than just reaching the women’s 100m semi-finals but history is created one step at a time and her first stride was a successful one.

Asher-Smith is looking to become the first British woman since Dorothy Hyman in 1960 to win an athletics sprint medal or the first ever to take home gold from an Olympics Games.

Dina Asher-Smith qualified for the 100m semi-finals without alarm at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Dina Asher-Smith / Twitter (49739473)
Dina Asher-Smith qualified for the 100m semi-finals without alarm at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Dina Asher-Smith / Twitter (49739473)

She goes in both the 100m and 200m, with the latter arguably providing the greater chance, but the Orpington sprinter made a solid start in the shorter distance at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Friday morning.

Asher-Smith - who was a 200m gold medallist and 100m silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships - cruised through her heat in a time of 11.07sec, in second spot behind Teahna Daniels.

It wasn’t a blistering time, and she will need to run faster as the rounds progress, but the early stages of an Olympic sprint event are purely about advancing to the next phase.

And Team GB’s golden hope reassured everyone that there was plenty more to come.

“It felt good,” she said. “It felt good to be out here and to finally get going, and it’s just great to finally get my Olympics under way.

“Today was just about making it through to the next round safely, at the same time as knowing I’ve got another level to give tomorrow, so I am really happy.

“And I do have another level - of course I do, it’s an Olympics.”

Asher-Smith competed at her first Olympic Games at Rio 2016, where she finished a creditable fifth in the 200m and won bronze in the 4x100m relay.

Her ambitions are greater five years on and she competes in the semi-finals at 11.15am BST on Saturday, with the 100m final then at 1.50pm that same day.

Tokyo 2020 is markedly different to Rio, given the lack of spectators due to Covid protocols, but Asher-Smith is so in her zone when competing on the track, it barely registers.

She added: “You are trying to go and perform and do well but I have to say, obviously as an athlete you love a full stadium, you love spectators but at the same time it is what it is and you’ve still got the job to do.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £36 million each week for good causes including elite and grassroots sport. Discover more about how playing The National Lottery supports Team GB’s athletes by visiting www.national-lottery.co.uk/tokyo2020 and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #MakeAmazingHappen

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