Tokyo Olympics: Dina Asher-Smith fails to make 100m final but Daryll Neita through

Dina Asher-Smith
Dina Asher-Smith lost out on an automatic spot in the final to Ajla del Ponte
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Dina Asher-Smith failed to make the Olympic 100m final after clocking a below-par 11.05 seconds in her semi-final – but Great Britain team-mate Daryll Neita is through.

Asher-Smith, who ran 10.83 to take world silver at Doha 2019, was third behind Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah and Switzerland’s Ajla del Ponte.

It left the 25-year-old needing a fastest loser spot to reach the final later on Saturday, but Neita took the final lane with a time of 11.00.

Asher-Smith missed her final warm-up event in Gateshead earlier this month with a tight hamstring.

She also pulled out of the second half of the indoor season with a tight quad muscle.

In Friday’s heats, she ran 11.07 and it seemed like she was shrewdly preserving herself through later rounds. However, the semi-finals revealed she is well short of her best.

Asher-Smith made a solid start in the semi-final, but the world 200m champion’s usual strength over the latter half of the race never emerged.

Neck and neck with Del Ponte, Asher-Smith could not summon a surge of speed to claim second.

A slew of fast times suggest that Asher-Smith would have struggled to make the podium even if firing on all cylinders.

Jamaican duo Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Thompson-Herah, world and Olympic champion respectively, were fastest into Saturday’s final, which takes place at 13:50 BST, with times of 10.73 and 10.76.

Their compatriot Shericka Jackson and Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou both clocked 10.79 as they crossed the line together in the second of the three semi-finals.

While Asher-Smith will be missing, Team GB’s Neita will line up in the final after qualifying by the slenderest of margins.

The 24-year-old, who finished third in the British Championships in Manchester in June, edged out Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle Lee Ahye by one thousandth of a second to secure her spot.

Asher-Smith’s semi-final exit is only the eighth time she has raced over 100m since taking world silver 22 months ago.

She opted for a low-profile 2020, deciding to focus on building strength rather than refining race sharpness. She competed in three 150m club races at her Bromley base rather than take part in skeleton world circuit that emerged after lockdown.

It seemed her approach had paid off when she defeated in-form American star Sha’Carri Richardson in a rainy Diamond League meeting in May.

However hopes she could similarly shock rivals with better times in Tokyo seem to have been foiled by injury niggles.

Analysis

Former Olympic 100m finalist Jeanette Kwakye: This is the Olympics, when you turn up, you have to be 100% ready. We could all see the Asher-Smith we know wasn’t quite clicking today and she had to pull out her best performance today to make the final.

We know she is a championship performer so that kind of performance is some kind of anomaly from where we know she can be.

Daryll Neita has made a marked change in her mindset, her physicality and her ability to turn up at a championship and say ‘why not?’

I was in that Beijing 2008 final with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and she span us all around. She is doing the same thing again here 13 years later.

It could be a clean sweep for Jamaica, but the two Swiss athletes who have made it into the final could mix it up along with Daryll, it is a competitive 100m final.

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