30th July 2021


Daryll Neita became the second British woman to run 100m in under 11 seconds and the first, Dina Asher-Smith, joined her in safe progression in the opening session of athletics at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Neita (coach: Rana Reider, club: Cambridge) set a personal best of 10.96 (-0.3) to qualify sixth fastest overall for tomorrow’s semi-finals and finish second in a heat that saw Marie-Josee Ta Lou break the African record.

Asher-Smith (John Blackie, Blackheath and Bromley) safely negotiated the opening heat with a time of 11.07 (-0.1) to finish second behind USA’s Teahna Daniels.

“It felt good, it felt good to be out here and to finally get going, and it’s just great to finally get my Olympics underway,” said the 25-year-old.

“Today was just about making it through to the next round safely. I’ve got another level to give tomorrow so I am really happy.”

Asha Philip (Steve Fudge, Newham and Essex Beagles) also progressed, finishing second in heat six in a time of 11.31 (-0.1).

It was also a successful start for British women in the 800m heats with Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh), Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan) and Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Leeds) all advancing.

Hodgkinson finished second in heat four with a time of 2:01.59, while Bell made it through on the strength of her time after finishing fourth in heat five with a time of 2:00.96.

“I was excited to get out there. I always hate first rounds, but I’m happy to get my place for tomorrow and I’m ready to give it a go,” said Hodgkinson.

“You can never predict how the races go but I definitely learned a few things in there, that’ll be the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on, so I’m just going to take it round by round.”

Meanwhile Reekie, also making her Olympic debut, cemented her place at the front of the field with an impressive 1:59.97.

She commented: “It wasn’t so much as laying down a marker with a win, it was just about getting through automatically and not having any issues.

“I’m glad to get that done. It wasn’t quite as I would have liked; I didn’t quite do what I wanted but I’m through and that’s the main thing.”

Tom Gale (Denis Doyle, Team Bath) cleared 2.28m on his third and final attempt to make the Olympic high jump final. He qualified in 13th and the 22-year-old will compete for a medal on Sunday.

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, the Olympic campaigns of Phil Norman (Tomaz Plibersek, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) and Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon, Bracknell) ended in their heats.

Norman finished 13th in heat one with a time of 8:46.57, whilst Seddon came 14th in heat two with 8:43.29.

Meanwhile, British record holder Lawrence Okoye (Zane Duquemin/John Hillier, Croydon) was unable to record a distance in qualifying for the men’s discus.