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Dina Asher-Smith sends Olympic warning to rivals by claiming European 100m crown

Dina Asher-Smith celebrates 100 metres gold in Rome (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Dina Asher-Smith celebrates 100 metres gold in Rome (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Dina Asher-Smith laid down a marker for the Paris Olympics by reclaiming the European 100 metres title.

The British sprint star set a continental leading time this year of 10.96 seconds in the semi-finals in Rome and just dipped inside the 11-second mark again in the final to claim gold.

Asher-Smith made a poor start and was well down at the halfway stage but came through strongly to clinch her first European title since 2018.

The 28-year-old still has work to do if she is to challenge the leading Americans and Jamaicans, but it confirms Asher-Smith is on the right track once again.

Dina Asher-Smith, right, crosses the line
Dina Asher-Smith, right, crosses the line (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Her victory, meanwhile, came on the same day that five-time Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah, winner of the 100m at the last two Games, had to be carried off the track in New York after suffering an injury.

Asher-Smith told British Athletics: “At the start I was like, ‘oopsy daisy’ but I definitely picked up and I was really happy to have closed really fast and got it.

“I know that I’m in a great place. It’s nice to run sub 11 in two completely different ways today. I feel really confident. Training’s been going well, my body feels good and I’m happy, I’m just having fun.”

There was a fine silver in the women’s 1500m for Georgia Bell behind delighted Irishwoman Ciara Mageean.

Ireland's Ciara Mageean wins the 1500m
Ireland’s Ciara Mageean wins the 1500m ahead of Georgia Bell (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Bell, who fell out of love with the sport and has competed at a high level in duathlon, claimed her first international medal at the age of 30.

Fellow British athlete Jemma Reekie led for nearly the entire race but ran out of steam heading down the final straight and eventually finished fifth.

The day began with Britain winning their first gold medal in the women’s half-marathon team event, with Calli Hauger-Thackery taking individual bronze.

On Sunday evening, Lizzie Bird thought she had matched her achievement from two years ago by taking bronze in the women’s steeplechase only for that to be elevated to silver, subject to a successful appeal, when France’s Alice Finot, who crossed the line in first place, was disqualified.

Lizzie Bird holds the British flag
Lizzie Bird was a medallist again in the steeplechase (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Bird’s time of nine minutes, 18.39 seconds also saw her hit the Olympic qualifying standard.

Elliot Giles and Morgan Lake missed out on medals in the men’s 800m and women’s high jump, respectively, while Jake Norris was 10th in the men’s hammer.

Charlie Dobson looks a strong contender for gold in the men’s 400m after coasting to victory in his semi-final in a quick time of 44.65sec, while Laviai Nielsen made it through to the final of the women’s event.