Dina Asher-Smith beats Sha’Carri Richardson in Gateshead Diamond League

Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith took a 100m win at Gateshead, beating American star Sha’Carri Richardson in her first real test of 2021.

Asher-Smith drove home in 11.35 seconds in difficult conditions, 0.11 seconds ahead of Richardson, the fastest woman of the year.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou and the Jamaican world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce also stayed behind from Asher-Smith.

Both Asher-Smith and Richardson plan to complete the 100 to 200 meter doubles in Tokyo.

Asher-Smith rarely raced in 2020 and limited herself to three low-key trips on her home track in Bromley. Instead, the 25-year-old focused on improving her strength and technique through recent workouts of 300 repetitions of abdominal strengthening exercises.

That extra power was evident as it held Richardson, who had fallen three times below 10.80 three times this season, back in the final 20 meters.

Asher-Smith, who won 100-meter silver as well as the 200-meter title at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, downplayed any psychological impact of the result on her Olympic rivals.

“I think overall today was more of an experience,” she said. “The only thing that can point to Tokyo is the Olympic final.

“I feel really good. The conditions for sprinting were far from ideal, but the most important thing is to get a good result and a win and that made me very happy.”

American world champion elsewhere Sam Kendricks defeated the Swedish world record holder Armand Duplantis in the wake of his rivalry with the pole vault. The couple took turns holding umbrellas on top of each other as constant rain made conditions difficult at Gateshead.

Norway’s double European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 20, showed an impressive effort to win the 1500m in 3: 36.27 while world champion Mariya Lasitskene saw a 14-event high jump run as Poland come to an end Kamila Licwinko triumphed.

The meeting marked the return of world-class athletics to Gateshead for the first time since 2010. The venue came when Rabat was unable to host the first Diamond League of the season due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Northeast predictably turned out to be colder and wetter than North Africa, but a socially distant sell-out of 2,000 fans was loud and enthusiastic nonetheless.

Cindy Sember provided her with another British win to cheer as she took the 100m hurdles in fourth ahead of sister Tiffany Porter.

Jack

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