Dina Asher-Smith has given a huge boost to British medal hopes for the upcoming European Indoor Championships with confirmation that she plans to complete her first full indoor season for three years by targeting gold at the event.
Asher-Smith – like many of the world’s leading athletes – has opted to miss the short indoor season for most of her senior career, instead using the winter period to focus on training for the summer outdoor campaign.
But with the coronavirus pandemic meaning she has not competed internationally since winning the world 200 metres title in October 2019, Asher-Smith will attempt to claim a confidence-boosting 60m gold ahead of the Olympics later this year.
“I’d love to go to the European Indoors,” Asher-Smith told Telegraph Sport ahead of her first international race for 16 months at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meet in Karlsruhe, Germany, on Friday.
“This year is unique so whatever my plans may be, we’re all going to have to be flexible. I haven’t done a championships indoors since 2016. I’m a completely different athlete now and it would be really fun to do a 60m championships. Hopefully I’ll do European Indoors.”
Asher-Smith equalled the British 60m record when she ran 7.08sec in 2015, but a lack of subsequent focus on indoor competition has seen her lose that crown to Asha Philip, who clocked 7.06sec in 2017.
Philip will line up against Asher-Smith at the Karlsruhe meet, which also features fellow British athletes Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Elliot Giles and Andrew Butchart.
On her prospects for the race, Asher-Smith, who holds British 100m and 200m records said: “I’m honestly just so excited to race. I am unbelievably excited to get out there and not just do my job but do what I’m passionate about.
“I haven’t done 60m since 2018 because I’ve always been trying to train through and focus on the outdoor season so I’m really excited to give it a genuine go this year.
“I have absolutely no idea about what I can do. It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve done a 60m season.
“I would love to get the British record but we’ll see. It has been a strange year so we’re just going to try and go out there and race as quickly as we can. If that comes with some fast performances then we’re all happy.”
Since winning three medals at the 2019 World Championships, Asher-Smith’s only appearances on the track have been low-key 75m and 150m races at her local track in Bromley last summer.
On why she chose not to compete on the Diamond League circuit last year, she said: “I only had eyes for Tokyo [Olympics] and once [lockdown] lifted I thought I’m not going to pretend to myself that everything is the same. I wasn’t going to pretend that everything was normal.
“We had an extra year so what was the wisest and best way to use that time? We came to the decision that it was best to build – an opportunity to get stronger in bits that might have otherwise have taken more time to work on.
“So we thought it was best to get a strong foundation and use that time to train. Then when 2021 came I would be in a good place physically and mentally.”