Dina Asher-Smith a real contender for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

first_imgTopics Share on Facebook BBC Support The Guardian Reuse this content Read more Another sign of her growing popularity came when Asher-Smith became a catwalk star for the day at Paris Fashion Week in September, while last month she also had a high-speed train named after her by Southeastern railway. But she insists that she is not interested in the joys or trappings of fame. “If anything clashes with training, I am like: ‘Sorry, I can’t go.’ I get invited to nice things and get awards simply because I run fast. But I run fast by training. I certainly know which side my bread is buttered, so that means I have to be at the track or in the gym and fully rested when my coach says so.”She will make an exception to attend Sunday’s ceremony in Birmingham but she insists she is happy mostly training, relaxing and reading books. “I just bought Becoming, by Michelle Obama, after reading a great book on the NHS. Generally I am a bit boring but I think you have to be if you want to run faster and keep improving.” Share on Messenger features Athletics A hugely successful and exhilarating year for British sport will be acknowledged in time-worn fashion on Sunday night when the country’s leading athletes – along with 12,000 paying spectators – gather at the Genting Arena in Birmingham for the 65th running of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. Yet, in a break from recent tradition, a woman has a genuine shot at the main prize.Not since 2006, when Zara Phillips was rewarded for winning the equestrian world title, has the award gone to a woman – and since then the only women to make even the podium are the athletes Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jo Pavey, and the swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Yet the bookmakers rate Dina Asher-Smith as a genuine contender after a dizzying few months, during which she became the first British track and field star to claim a treble of gold medals at a major championships.Millions watched her performances on the BBC, turning her into a bona fide star and role model, although the eloquent 23-year-old does not necessarily see it that way. “I still find it strange that people see me as a role model,” she says. “I think: ‘Why me?’ I’m just normal. I look up to people like Michelle Obama. You have to admire her, being in the White House for eight years but coming out with her head held high and a strong sense of whom she is. That’s really admirable.“I also talk to fantastic women such as Jess Ennis and Chrissy Ohuruogu who tell me how to handle myself, how to remain cool and not get stressed. I take inspiration and advice from people who have done it already. There’s no point in trying to find your own way.” The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Share on Pinterestcenter_img Share via Email Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Dina Asher-Smith Share on WhatsApp For the first time, the contenders nominated for Sports Personality of the Year will be announced on the night of the show with fewer names in the running. However it would be a major surprise if the England footballer Harry Kane is not on the shortlist having scored six goals at the World Cup to claim the golden boot. The bookmakers make Kane a narrow favourite, with the Tour de France winning cyclist Geraint Thomas close behind and the Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton in third. After that comes Asher-Smith, with the top five in the betting made up by the heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury. As always, the public will vote to decide the winner. Last year the form book was shredded, with the 28-1 outsider Mo Farah picked as the winner and the motorcyclist Jonathan Rea a shock second. However it would be a major surprise if a left-field candidate won this time.Elsewhere England’s netballers, who toppled Australia in a thrilling Commonwealth Games final, will go head-to-head with Gareth Southgate’s England football side, who reached the World Cup semi-finals, for team of the year. While the American gymnast Simone Biles faces three other candidates for the World Star of the Year gong, including the Open-winning golfer Francesco Molinari.But when it comes to the main prize Asher-Smith would be a highly popular winner after a season for the ages. Between 2014 to 2017 she combined being an elite sprinter with studying for a history degree at King’s College, London. This year, though, she recovered from a broken foot to make history of her own by storming to three European gold medals over 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay in Berlin in August, in the same Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens defied Hitler in 1936. For good measure Asher-Smith also smashed the national 100m and 200m records, after having a bet with her mum beforehand that she could run 10.85sec for 100m.“I didn’t think I’d get it because 10.85 is such a ridiculous time,” admits Asher-Smith, smiling. “Afterwards my mum bought me a bag. I also had a bet with my physio that he’d take me out for a very nice meal. We’ll have to find a time when I’m not on my training diet. Maybe next year!” Share on LinkedIn Read more BBC Sports Personality of the Year Since you’re here… The Anti-Sports Personality of the Year awards 2018last_img

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