Olympic champion Mark Lewis-Francis has tipped Dina Asher-Smith to end Britain’s sprinting medal drought and bring home gold from Tokyo 2020.
World 200m champion Asher-Smith begins her bid for Olympic glory in the 100m heats on Friday morning.
The 25-year-old Team GB athletics captain is attempting to become the first British woman to win a medal in either of the sprints since Dorothy Hyman took silver and bronze in 1960.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is favourite to add to her 100m titles in 2008 and 2012 having clocked 10.63 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in history, just last month.
But Lewis-Francis, who anchored Great Britain to the 4x100m relay gold medal at the 2004 Games in Athens, believes Asher-Smith will step up to the mark on the biggest of stages.
“She’s a championship performer,” Lewis-Francis told the PA news agency.
“When she goes out there she puts everything on the table. She’s an amazing athlete and an amazing person.
“If she goes out there and she runs her perfect race she can achieve a gold medal, definitely.”
Team GB might be hard pushed to match their haul of seven track and field medals in Rio, but Lewis-Francis feels there are plenty of opportunities for success, not least in the shape of 800m hopeful and fellow Birchfield Harrier Elliot Giles.
“We’ve got a talented young team, quite a few athletes are predicted to get medals so my hopes are really high for them,” he added.
“They’ve got good management, good coaches and with them being able to focus on their events with no distractions because they have had to isolate, they are going to have time to think and time to put everything they’ve done over the last four or five years into perspective and go out there on the field and achieve their goals.
“There’s a young Birchfield Harrier competing, Elliot Giles. He’s come a long way this season.
“I think he’s got potential to go out there and achieve really well and embrace the Games.”
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