It has been a while since Dina Asher-Smith has felt the thrill of leaving high-class sprinters in her slipstream, but there were hints of her a return to her imperious best as she held on to win the 100m here in Birmingham.
The time of her victory – 11.11sec – was nothing special, but on a blustery day and on a new track that worryingly seemed to lack the speed and zest of most modern surfaces, she was rightfully delighted to pip the Tokyo 100m bronze medallist, Shericka Jackson, by 0.01 sec.
“It was good for my first 100m of the season against a very strong field,” said Asher-Smith, who also beat the 200m bronze medallist in Japan, Gabby Thomas, and her fellow Briton Daryll Neita. “I could have done a few things differently if I’m being picky but I’m very happy to win against this field and in this wind.
“We’re targeting the World Championships but also to perform at all three championships this summer so you have to ease into it. I will take that for an opener, although I’m sure on Monday my coach will come with about 100 million things that could have been better.”
Asher-Smith finished third in last week’s opening Diamond League in Doha – behind Thomas and Jackson in the 200m – but in her first major race in Britain since injuring her hamstring at last year’s UK trials, she started well and held off the fast-finishing Jackson.
This was the first major event to be held at the Alexander Stadium, which has been renovated at a cost of £72m for the Commonwealth Games, and the crowd were also delighted to cheer on Laura Muir as she marked her return from injury with victory in 4min 02:81sec ahead of Australia’s Jessica Hull.
“To come here and win in my first race of the season I am really, really happy,” said Muir. “The win was more important than the time, especially as it was quite windy. It was solid and running from the front too.”
There was a surprise in the men’s 100m as Canada’s Aaron Brown won in 10.13 after not having originally been entered in the race. After the pre-race favourites Trayvon Bomell and Zharnel Hughes suffered false starts, Brown came home in 10.13 – even though he had run in the B-race earlier.
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“Originally, I was just coming to do the relay and then it just so happened I asked to get in the 100,” he said. “And they only put me in the B race and then the A race opened up so I did all three and it paid off.”
Britain’s 1500m Tokyo bronze medallist, Josh Kerr, was in fifth in a race won by Abel Kipsang in 3min 35:15 with less than a second separating the top six.
Another British Tokyo medallist, Holly Bradshaw, failed to clear a height in a pole vault competition won by USA’s Sandi Morris in 4.73m.