Dina Asher-Smith got her first indoor season in three years off to a strong start as she equalled her Personal Best with a world-leading time of 7.08 to win the 60m at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe last Friday.

After winning her heat in a very comfortable looking 7.11, the world 200m champion went even closer to Asha Philip’s British record of 7.06 one hour later, finishing clear ahead of the rest of the field at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold-level meeting.

France’s Orlann Ombissa-Dzangue came close to her PB with 7.16 in second, while Switzerland’s Ajla del Ponte matched her own PB of 7.17 in third. Germany’s Lisa Mayer was fourth in 7.21 and Philip fifth in 7.22.

Asher-Smith’s performance certainly bodes well as she later explained how she feels she still has some race sharpening to do, having previously not competed in an international event since the 2019 world championships in Doha.

“I was really, really happy with today,” said Asher-Smith, who next races in Düsseldorf on Sunday. “Obviously it has been a very strange year for us all and it has been quite a long time since I competed on the international stage, so I wasn’t quite knowing what to expect today.

“But to open with I think my fastest openers ever and equalling my PB is really good.

“I have been working really hard at training and I was happy to see some of those elements come through.

“I am really happy and I am really excited for whatever the next races bring.”

On any race rustiness after her 15 months away from high-level competition, she added: “I do actually think I probably have got a little bit more sharpening up to do. I wasn’t really scared (about returning to competition), I was more excited because it has been so long and I love racing, I love track and field, I love sprinting, it’s what I’m good at and it’s what I have enjoyed since I was a little girl. I was just really excited to get started.”

The 25-year-old looks set to target the European Indoor Championships as part of a full indoor season and when asked how important the indoor season is ahead of the outdoors, she replied:

“It is really important this year, more than ever, because personally we have missed a whole year of high-level competition so me and my coach and my team, we all made sure that we wanted to focus on the 2021 indoor season. Mainly to make sure that we were race sharp going into Olympic outdoor season because whilst the world has been really weird we still can’t forget that we have got the biggest prize in track and field up for grabs this year so you have to get ready properly.”

Source: Jessica Whittington