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Dina Asher-Smith set for 200m defence as part of GB’s World Championships squad

Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith won the 200m in Doha (Mike Egerton/PA)
Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith won the 200m in Doha (Mike Egerton/PA)

Dina Asher-Smith will launch the defence of her 200m title next month after Great Britain’s World Championships squad was announced.

The 26-year-old, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Keely Hodgkinson headline the 64-strong team for the competition in Eugene, Oregon, in July.

Asher-Smith won gold in Doha three years ago, having collected 100m silver, before going on to also secure silver in the 4x100m relay, and will look to improve on that haul in the United States.

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Day Seven – Khalifa International Stadium
Dina Asher-Smith won 200m gold in Doha (Martin Rickett/PA)

She is expected to run at the Stockholm Diamond League meet on Thursday in her final race before the World Championships, which were rescheduled from last year after the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Outgoing Olympic head coach Christian Malcolm said: “We’ve seen a number of athletes step up on the global circuit so far this season, which has been really encouraging.

“We are confident that we’ve selected a team that optimises medal success and that have the ability to progress through rounds to reach finals.

“The World Championships is the start of a very busy summer of Championships and Games, so there are a number of opportunities for athletes to represent their country this summer.

“For those who have been selected for the team for Oregon, I wish the athletes and their coaches the best over the next week or so and to keep focus to achieve your goals.”

Daryll Neita, who reached last year’s Olympic 100m final and beat Asher-Smith in Manchester at the weekend to become British 100m champion, is also included for the 100m and 4x100m.

Despite winning the 200m at the British Championships on Sunday, however, 25-year-old Neita does not have the time for 200m qualification, with Asher-Smith joined by Beth Dobbin.

Johnson-Thompson missed the Manchester championships at the weekend but will look to defend the heptathlon world title she won in 2019.

IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 – Day Seven – Khalifa International Stadium
Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson won heptathlon gold in Doha (Martin Rickett/PA)

The 29-year-old has been dogged by injury for 18 months since rupturing her Achilles in late 2020 and pulled out of the Olympics having suffered a calf problem in the heptathlon’s 200m.

Hodgkinson, who is expected to challenge American Athing Mu for 800m gold, is included along with Laura Muir, with the Scot aiming for her first World Championships outdoor medal after claiming 1500m silver in Tokyo last year.

Hodgkinson is joined in the 800m by Alex Bell and Jemma Reekie while Holly Bradshaw, who won Olympic bronze last year, will contest the pole vault.

Zharnel Hughes and Reece Prescod are Britain’s hopes in the men’s 100m with Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Adam Gemili in the 200m.

Prescod ran 9.93 seconds in Ostrava last month to leave him 11th fastest in the world this year but he remains well behind world lead Fred Kerley, who posted 9.76 seconds at the US trials at the weekend.

Muller UK Athletics Championships – Day Two – Manchester Regional Arena
Reece Prescod ran 9.93 seconds in Ostrava last month (Isaac Parkin/PA)

All four are in the men’s 4x100m relay squad, with Hughes and Mitchell-Blake aiming to ease their heartbreak having been stripped of their Olympic relay silver after CJ Ujah’s positive drugs test.

They are joined by Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, new British 100m champion Jeremiah Azu and Jona Efoloko.

Asher-Smith, Dobbin, Neita, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Ashleigh Nelson, Asha Philip and Bianca Williams make up the women’s 4x100m squad.

Max Burgin, the fastest man in the world over 800m this year, won the British title on Sunday to seal his place.

World Athletics will publish its final world rankings ahead of the Championships on Wednesday, meaning there are likely to be a number of additions to the squad based on rankings.

The World Championships sparks a frantic summer with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starting days after the end of competition in Eugene and then the European Championships in Munich in August.