Dina Asher-Smith is determined to make up for lost time by going for gold in the world championships, Commonwealth Games and European championships over a hectic five-week stretch in 2022.
With the pandemic decimating the calendar in 2020 and a hamstring injury robbing her of an Olympic dream in 2021, the British 100m and 200m record holder plans to defend her world 200m title in Eugene in July 2022, compete in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham a fortnight later, and then try to retain at least some of her three European titles in Munich in August.
The news that one of Britain’s biggest stars will be competing in the Commonwealth Games will delight organisers and could potentially lead to an extraordinary nine medals in little over a month. However, speaking after finishing her season in Zurich, Asher-Smith said it was too early to say how many events she would enter in 2022.
“I won’t say what events, or in what capacity, but I would like to do all three,” she said. “As we saw this year it all depends on what happens in terms of form and fitness, but I hope to.
“I think you will see a few athletes do the same as it is a home Commonwealths and obviously I have a world title and many European titles to retain. But you have to manage it intelligently.
“However if I have learnt anything during the pandemic it is that I love racing and representing myself and the country. It is [about] taking the opportunity. I missed competing so much. You have to be sensible about the choices but I hope to use the opportunities that I can.”
Asher-Smith’s sentiments were echoed by Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson, who capped a remarkable first season at senior level by winning the 800m Diamond League title.
“Maybe I will do all three next year,” said the 19-year-old, whose win in Zurich earned her automatic qualification for the world championships. “I was adding it up and, including the British trials, it’s 11 championship races. It’s definitely a possibility but I’ll see how my body feels. It’s exciting. And my aim is to get a gold medal.”
Meanwhile Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, says he will review the controversial “final three” format in jumping and throwing events after widespread criticism from athletes.
Under the current system for the Diamond League competitions, athletes take five attempts before the top three square off in a mini final to decide the winner. The idea is to give more TV prominence to field events, but it has proved almost universally unpopular.
Speaking to the Guardian, Coe admitted: “We do need to review this. I’d like to sit down with some of the broadcasters and ask them ‘has the format made a difference?’ Has this had an impact on the number of people that have been able to watch these events?
“It’s not uniformly popular, I accept that. But it’s now for the athletes and the coaches to come back with something different.”