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Dina Asher-Smith continues winning streak with dominant Florence victory

The Guardian logo The Guardian 10/06/2021 Sean Ingle
Dina Asher-Smith jumping in the air: Photograph: Claudio Giovannini/EPA © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Claudio Giovannini/EPA

First Dina Asher-Smith sent an ominous warning to her Olympic rivals on the track by sauntering to the third-quickest 200m time of her career. Then she did it again with six well-chosen words and a smile: “I definitely have more in me.”

The 25-year-old’s time of 22.06sec in Florence broke a meeting record that had been held for 22 years by Marion Jones. And, for good measure, it was also the second fastest time in the world this year – just 0.03sec behind Shaunae Miller-Uibo.

“It was really important to do a good race,” said Asher-Smith after thrashing Marie-Josée Ta Lou into second by 0.56sec to claim her second Diamond League win of the season. “It’s been really hard because of the pandemic, so I’m really proud to be able to put in that kind of time.”

Related: Letesenbet Gidey breaks two-day-old 10,000m world record in super spikes

The rangy Miller-Uibo remains favourite for 200m gold in Tokyo, while the Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah are also in the mix. But Asher-Smith remains undefeated in 2021 and dangerous.

Earlier in Florence, Laura Muir nearly broke her 1500m British record but her time was only good enough for third in a thriller won by Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan. Just four days earlier in Hengelo Hassan had broken the 10,000m world record only to lose it 48 hours later, and she had warned that she would need to do more speedwork to compete over 1500m.

Dina Asher-Smith jumping in the air: Dina Asher-Smith crosses the line to win the Diamond League 200m in Florence. © Photograph: Claudio Giovannini/EPA Dina Asher-Smith crosses the line to win the Diamond League 200m in Florence.

But incredibly Hassan was still able to hold off Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon as she won in a world-leading time of 3min 53.63sec.

Muir lost ground with 200m to go but still ran 3min 55.59sec, the second-best time of her career and a season’s best. “I’m really happy with this result – I think it’s my second-fast[est] time ever and just short of my British record,” she said. “To be able to run this fast in the time leading up to the Olympics, it feels really great.”

The good news for Muir is that Hassan is considering skipping the 1500m and doubling over 5,000m and 10,000m in Tokyo instead, which would be a major boost to the Briton’s chances of a medal.

But perhaps the performance of the night came from the Norwegian 20-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen. He stormed to a brilliant win in the men’s 5,000m, setting a new European record of 12min 48.45sec – the fastest time ever by someone born outside Africa. The world record holder, Joshua Cheptegei, could only finish a surprise sixth.

Elsewhere Britain’s Andrew Pozzi ran a season-best time of 13.25sec in the 110m hurdles but was beaten by Jamaican Olympic champion Omar McLeod. In the men’s 100m South African Akani Simbine edged out Britain’s CJ Ujah in the 100m to win in 10.08sec.

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