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Dina Asher-Smith calls for British athletics to keep London base amid relocation talks

By Malik Ouzia

Dina Asher-Smith wants British athletics to retain a base in London

(Picture: Getty Images)

Dina Asher-Smith has called for British athletics to retain a permanent base in London, as the sport threatens to walk away from the capital.

UK Athletics have a 50-year agreement, signed in 2013, to turn the London Stadium into an athletics venue for one month each year amid West Ham’s lease of the ground, but initial talks have been held over bringing a premature end to the deal.

That could pave the way for the London 2012 Olympic venue to be turned into a football stadium full-time, while athletics would potentially relocate to Birmingham, where the newly re-built Alexander Stadium is already set to host this year’s UK leg of the Diamond League circuit, as well as the Commonwealth Games.

However, London-born Asher-Smith, who was a kit carrier at London 2012 before winning relay silver at the 2017 World Championships in the same stadium, called for the capital to remain a central part of the sport’s future.

“We’ve obviously got a really nice new stadium in Birmingham which I’ll be fortunate enough to try out next week [in the Diamond League], so I’m very excited for that and very excited for the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

“But I always think that London is the centre of sport in the UK and it would be amazing to have a base there and really use the London Stadium, particularly as it is the Olympic Stadium, it’s where the Anniversary Games has been. Obviously, all the other major sports have that base in London.”

Asher-Smith won relay silver at the World Championships in London in 2017 (AFP via Getty Images)

Asher-Smith was speaking in Doha, where she is set to begin her season over 200m in tomorrow’s night’s Diamond League opener.

The 26-year-old is the reigning world and European champion in the event and will have the chance to defend both titles later this summer, in what is a jam-packed season featuring three major outdoor championships.

The British record holder confirmed she has put the hamstring injury which blighted her 2020 campaign and forced her to pull out of the individual events at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer behind her, and is intending to compete at all three of the worlds, Europeans and Commonwealths in some capacity.

“For British athletes, it’s the biggest season we’ve ever had,” she added. “For me, I’m focusing first and foremost on the World Championships and performing well there and then we will very much take everything in our stride. But I do aim to be performing at my best at all three.”

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Dive Deeper:
Dina Asher-Smith hopeful athletics will still have a home at the London Stadium
There is uncertainty over the future of athletics at the venue which hosted the 2012 Olympic Games
Dina Asher-Smith urges UKA to stick with London amid exit reports
Dina Asher-Smith has urged UK Athletics to keep a London base amid reports that it is in preliminary talks over…
Dina Asher-Smith off the pace in opening Diamond League meeting
The British sprinter made a slow start to the season in Doha as she could only finish a distant third…
Dina Asher-Smith is harder, better, faster, stronger
Dina Asher-Smith is more than the fastest British woman ever. She tells Shannon Mahanty about speaking out on George Floyd, flirting with…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Dina Asher-Smith finishes third in 200m at Diamond League opener in Doha
Gabrielle Thomas took the win ahead of Shericka Jackson
Lyles claims key win amid Diamond League desert storm
Doha (AFP) - World 200 metre champion Noah Lyles won the first big sprint clash of the season on Friday…
Get all your news in one place