Great Britain star Dina Asher-Smith believes she will be the one to tame American sprint sensation Sha’Carri Richardson when the pair line up in the women’s 100 meters at Sunday’s 2021 Wanda Diamond League opener in Gateshead.
Asher-Smith is slated to take on Richardson and Jamaica’s multiple world and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah withdrew from the clash due to injury.
Entering Sunday’s battle, Richardson has been the form sprinter after clocking the three fastest times over the 100m in the world this year.
Her personal best of 10.72 seconds, achieved at the 2021 Miramar Invitational at Ansin Sports Complex in Florida, on April 10 sees her become the sixth-fastest woman ever, which is why the leading track and field pundits are backing her to win in Gateshead.
However, although lauding the performances of Richardson so far this season, Asher-Smith is backing herself to beat the American 21-year-old.
“It was nice to see her put the times together in a lovely, technical way, but, obviously, I have to always back myself,” Asher-Smith was quoted as saying ahead of the clash.
“I am definitely a competitor always. It is something that makes everything exciting. It is fun to compete against such talented women.”
Richardson, who is being hailed as the new Usain Bolt, was not taking the bait but revealed that she always tries to do something special every time she steps on the track.
“Every time I step on the track I’m trying to do something I haven’t done before,” she said. “The expectation is nothing new to me, I just have to block it out, remember my craft and every time I step on the track execute in the best way I can. If I win, that’s the bonus.”
Besides Richardson, the race will also feature Jamaican Fraser-Pryce, who will be making her season debut over the 100m this season, along with Ivorian world bronze medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.
“It’s a stacked race,” Asher-Smith said. “I’m very fortunate to be part of a cohort of incredibly talented women.
“This is the start of the Diamond League season and I think it’s the start of a match up that’s going to be replicated in a number of different Diamond League races.
“I saw Sha’Carri’s race at Mt SAC (where Richardson ran 10.74 into a -1.1m/s headwind in the heats and 10.77 into a -1.2m/s headwind in the final) and technically it was a very nice bit of sprinting to watch.
“It’s nice to see someone put everything together in such a technical way but I have to always back myself as well.”