Voting is now open for the SJA2018 British Sports Awards sponsored by The National Lottery. As far as ANTON RIPPON is concerned, there is only one contender for sportswoman of the year and that’s Dina Asher-Smith, who won the Pat Besford outstanding performance award at SJA2015. Here’s why.
Dina Asher-Smith believes that she can now beat the very best. She is going into next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha brimming with confidence. And who would argue that this is misplaced?
Back in the summer, the 22-year-old Asher-Smith completed a memorable sprint treble at the European Championships in Berlin: 100metres, 200m and 4x100m relay, the first British woman to win three European gold medals.
Not only that, as well as smashing the British record, her 10.85 seconds in the 100m was the fastest by a woman in the world in 2018, and her 21.89 sec in the 200m was also a British record.
In the build-up to all that Asher-Smith also found time to graduate from King’s College, London, with a history degree. So, not only is she on the verge of becoming a world-class athlete, she is also a well-rounded person.
— Dina Asher-Smith (@dinaashersmith) July 25, 2017
She told Press Association Sport: “When you are younger, you always think I want to do well at the Olympics, but you don’t expect to be a role model. It is strange.
“I am only 22 and I am still searching for role models that inspire me. To think that is what people call me is humbling and really nice, but it is something I have to get used to because it is bestowed on you, and it is a responsibility.
“But I will take it quite seriously because you don’t want to be a negative influence.”
In February 2017, Asher-Smith suffered a broken foot in her final training session before the indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham. Yet six months later she was a world championships silver medallist as part of the women’s 4x100m relay team.
She says: “In terms of proper self-confidence, as a person, a woman and an athlete, I would say that has grown in the last year since I broke my foot and came back and realised I can actually do this.”
Eight-time world champion and four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson said: “I have been watching British athletics with the BBC since 2002 and in all that time I have not seen anyone like Dina Asher-Smith … Other than Jessica Ennis-Hill, there hasn’t been anyone who has got to this point where they are a global medal contender at such a young age.”
So 2018 is Dina Asher-Smith’s time and that is why I am voting for her as our Sportswoman of the Year.