Sports champions back sprinter Dina Asher-Smith after emotional Tokyo interview

Dina Asher-Smith after her 100m semi-final in Tokyo (Martin Rickett/PA)
Dina Asher-Smith after her 100m semi-final in Tokyo (Martin Rickett/PA)
PA Wire

Gold medal-winning Olympians were among those to send messages of support to Dina Asher-Smith after the sprinter’s hopes of individual glory at Tokyo 2020 were dashed due to injury.

The 25-year-old crashed out of the women’s 100 metres competition after her semi-final, and later revealed she had suffered a hamstring injury just weeks before the Games.

The 200 metres world champion then confirmed during a tearful interview that she would not participate at that distance either.

The emotional post-mortem prompted a number of gold medal-winning athletes to send messages of support to the Londoner, with Sam Quek, Greg Rutherford and Kate Richardson-Walsh among them.

“Remember… @J_Ennis devastatingly had to pull out of the Beijing 2008 #Olympics when she broke her right ankle,” tweeted Quek, who won gold with the women’s hockey team at Rio 2016.

“She came back to win a spectacular gold medal at London 2012. Keep your head up @dinaashersmith – we will see you at #Paris2024”.

Quek’s team mate and captain in 2016, Richardson-Walsh, wrote: “Gutted for Dina Asher-Smith. So much more to come from her in the years to come.

“Her legacy already transcends the athletics arena and the track she dominates. Right behind you Dina, all that you are and all that you’re yet to be.”

Meanwhile Rutherford, who secured gold in the long jump on ‘Super Saturday’ at London 2012, described Asher-Smith as “a powerful, brilliant human.”

He continued: “Her story basically made me cry on air. Clearly something was wrong with her body, but to hear just how bad it is, is mind blowing.”

Asher-Smith, the Team GB athletics captain for Tokyo, had been tipped to become the first British woman to take an individual sprint medal since Dorothy Hyman in 1960.

She plans to still run in the 4x100m relay.

Beijing 2008 javelin bronze medallist Goldie Sayers tweeted “I’ve no doubt her best Olympics is to come” while former Team GB footballer Casey Stoney described Asher-Smith’s interview as “absolutely heartbreaking”.

And it wasn’t just former Olympians who were touched by the sprinter’s reaction, with boxer Tony Bellew and footballers Ian Wright and Marcus Rashford, sending their support.

“Heart went out to Dina Asher-Smith there,” wrote Bellew. “Stay strong champ you will come again.”

Meanwhile Rashford, who went through the pain of defeat in the Euro 2020 final just weeks ago, simply tweeted: “Superstar @dinaashersmith. “Nothing else to be said.”

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