Dina Asher-Smith: ‘As a black woman, I basically take a knee every day’

Dina Asher-Smith says that by excelling at sport, „you see me as a black woman in all my vibrancy and glory“.

The Briton, 25, competes at the World Indoor Tour in Karlsruhe on Friday, her first elite event since 2019.

Since the world 200m champion last raced on a world stage, many athletes have taken a knee before events to highlight racial injustices.

Asked if she will do the same, Asher-Smith said: „As a black woman, I basically take a knee every day.“

She told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast: „I kind of stand up, am very authentic and proud of who I am and what I represent.

„By me excelling and being me in a sporting arena, that’s what I do. That’s what I represent when I stand on the line, you see me as a black woman in all my vibrancy and glory.“

‘We have to be ready for Tokyo’

Since winning gold over 200m and silver at 100m at the 2019 World Championships, Asher-Smith – like many athletes – has been largely sidelined because of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020 she took part in just three club-level races over 150m at her local track and says she instead focused on resting her body so she could be ready for what is expected to be a significant four years.

Because of the amended athletics calendar, she could compete at the Tokyo Olympics this year, at the World Championships in Eugene and Budapest respectively in 2022 and 2023, and then another Olympics in Paris in 2024.

„Psychologically I thought close the door on 2020 and all the instability, and push forward into the next four years, which have a major championships every summer,“ she added.

„Psychologically I called this a new Olympic cycle, a fresh start.“

Asher-Smith will race over 60m at Friday’s World Indoor Tour event in Germany. The meet will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer, Red Button and the BBC Sport website.

The event comes in a week where the International Olympic Committee has reaffirmed its position on the Tokyo Games taking place in July and August, despite the ongoing global pandemic.

Asked if the IOC should offer some form of ‘plan B’, Asher Smith said: „I know absolutely nothing of the intricacies of organising a Games.

„It’s very easy for those on the outside to say what can and should be done. I don’t know the politics of it, the economics of it or how strategically it will all work. From my perspective we have to stay ready, prepared and focused as this is what we work for.“

World Indoor Tour
29 JanuaryKarlsruhe, Germany
9 FebruaryLievin, France
13 FebruaryNew York, USA
17 FebruaryTorun, Poland
24 FebruaryMadrid, Spain

bbc sport

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