Unforgettable morning for Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith, right, is through to the 200m semis

Dina Asher-Smith, right, is through to the 200m semis

First published in National Sport News © by

Dina Asher-Smith has enjoyed one of the best mornings of her life, with the 18-year-old coming agonisingly close to a 200 metres personal best just an hour after finding out she got the A-Level results required to study history at King's College.

The European Championships are the first individual senior event of the Brit's career and a stage she looks more than comfortable on.

Fresh from being crowned the world junior 100 metres champion, Asher-Smith won through her 200m heat in Zurich, crossing the line in 22.75s - just a hundredth of a second shy of her personal best.

"I'm really shocked by that," she said. "I think the track must be quite fast. I'm absolutely over the moon."

Asher-Smith was beaming from ear to ear after the race and it is no surprise given that was merely the icing on the cake of what was a fantastic morning.

The teenager had been sweating on her A-Level results, requiring straight A-grades in English, history and biology in order to read history at King's College, London.

Unable to collect her results from school, she had to wait until 9am UK time to log-on to see if she had been accepted - by which time she was on the bus to the Stadion Letzigrund and without phone reception.

Asher-Smith eventually found out her fate just 20 minutes before going out to warm-up, receiving a text from her elated mum saying "yippee".

"It was a little bit nerve-racking," she said. "I was probably more nervous for my exams results than the heats, to be fair.

"I was absolutely petrified of not getting into uni but I got in. I don't know exactly what I got but I got into King's for history and I needed three As so somewhere around there."

Asher-Smith said she was in a "bit of a daze" after such an incredible start to a day which could get even better if she can progress to the 200m final this evening.

"I'm very happy," she said. "I'm quietly confident but I don't want to say anything [too much]. That was a bit of a surprise right there."

Asher-Smith won the final heat, ensuring the full complement of female British 200m sprinters would be taking to the track again later.

Bianca Williams, ranked third in Europe over the distance, won the first heat in 23.38 seconds, before Commonwealth silver medallist Jodie Williams joined her in the semi-finals by taking the following heat in 22.88secs.

All three British men will also be in 200m semi-finals on Thursday evening after securing automatic qualification.

James Ellington's 20.55 run saw him finish second to Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre in his heat, before Danny Talbot, bronze medallist in Helsinki two years ago, won his in 20.63.

Adam Gemili, fresh from his 100m silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, then laid down the gauntlet to his European rivals in the final heat, winning in 20.39 - the fastest time in qualifying.

"It was okay," he said. "It was quicker than I thought it would be given I was trying to conserve my energy. I didn't run the bend as hard as I usually do, and was just trying to relax into the straight.

"Hopefully I can take this into the semis now and make it through to the final. Once I'm in the final anything can happen."

There was disappointment for another silver medallist from Glasgow, though, as Luke Cutts failed to make it through to the pole vault final, which will feature Commonwealth champion Steven Lewis after a 5.50m jump.

"It was good," he said. "I was definitely in the right head space this morning to make easy qualification and I've done it with two jumps.

"I feel like I've got a new lease of life and I definitely want to aim for the podium and just think big. It felt good standing on the podium in Glasgow, so I want to try and feel it again."

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