Asher-Smith added 200 gold to the silver she won Sunday in the 100, a big deal for a country which before these championships had not won a women’s world medal of any color in either event since 1983.
“It’s very, very surreal,” she said. “When I was out there, I was thinking: ‘Please, please. Just run the race how you know you can and win.’”
The 23-year-old from London is far from assured of a win in Tokyo, though.
Wednesday’s field was severely depleted after defending world champion Dafne Schippers and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson withdrew with injuries. Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce pulled out after winning the 100 on Sunday.
Asher-Smith won in a British-record 21.88 seconds, 0.04 ahead of fast-finishing U.S. runner Brittany Brown, and can now target a third medal in the 4×100 relay Saturday. The bronze went to Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambunji.
The men’s 110 hurdles ended with recriminations after Olympic and 2017 world champion Omar McLeod veered out of his lane and into Spain’s Orlando Ortega before falling.
Grant Holloway of the U.S. stayed clear of the drama to win a fairly slow final in 13.10, the same time he’d run in the previous round.
Sergey Shubenkov, the 2015 world champion, took silver for the third medal of the championships for the Russian team, which is competing as a squad of officially neutral athletes due to past doping violations. He’s reached the podium at the last four world championships going back to 2013.
Bronze went to Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France, while the clearly frustrated Ortega trailed in fifth, his race ruined by contact with McLeod, who was disqualified. It was meant to be the comeback final for McLeod, who missed much of 2018 with injuries and finally seemed to have found his form again in the semifinals.
Pawel Fajdek of Poland, the undisputed king of hammer throw at the world championships, sealed his fourth consecutive title with a throw of 80.50 meters. No other man has won more than two.
The question now is whether he can finally add an Olympic medal after being eliminated in qualifying at the 2012 and 2016 Games.
Quentin Bigot of France took the silver with 78.19, beating Hungary’s Bence Halasz by a single centimeter.
Britain is eyeing another gold medal in the heptathlon as Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads by 96 points after the first day. She lagged behind Olympic champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium for most of the day, but overhauled her rival in the 200, the last event of the day.
Men’s decathlon world record holder Kevin Mayer of France sits third in the standings behind two Canadians after day one. Damian Warner leads, and Pierce LePage overtook Mayer in the 400, the day’s last event.
The fastest man in the world over 400 meters this year, U.S. runner Michael Norman, was eliminated in the semifinals after running while injured. The final is Friday. (AFP)