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Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson face the tall task of defending their world crowns

Dina Asher-Smith won gold in the 2019 women's 200m final

Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson face a tall order to defend their crowns with Jamaica looking to make a clean sweep of gold at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon

  • Dina Asher-Smith and Katerina Johnson-Thompson are against it in the US
  • Both Asher-Smith and Johnson-Thompson are looking to defend their world crowns
  • The World Athletics Championships begin in Oregon on Friday
  • It has been 19 years since a British team failed to win gold at the championships
  • There is concern over whether any Brits will stand on the podium in the next 10 days

It has been 19 years since a British team failed to win gold at the World Athletics Championships, but a repeat of that void from Paris 2003 looks a real possibility as competition gets underway in Oregon in the next 10 days.

This is the first time the championship will be held in the US, and Hayward Field has undergone an appropriately lavish facelift.

Nike co-founder Phil Knight has poured incredible sums into the University of Oregon over the years, and the crown jewel of the campus is its athletics stadium, which was renovated at an estimated cost of £228 million.

Dina Asher-Smith won gold in the 2019 women's 200m final

Katarina Johnson-Thompson also won gold in the 2019 heptathlon

Dina Asher-Smith (left) and Katarina Johnson-Thompson (right) face high standards as they defend their world crowns at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

The British are worried about whether any of their athletes will stand on the podium. They will come with two defending champions – Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson – but it will be a huge shock if either of them takes gold.

Asher-Smith, who won 200m gold in Doha in 2019, was fourth in the 100m at the same track in May and faces a busy week in the women’s 100m heats at 1.10 on Saturday night.

Jamaica appear to hold all the aces there with Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce seemingly a class apart, and team-mate Shericka Jackson could pull it off.

Asher-Smith will need something much faster than her season’s best of 10.98 to make an impact. He also competes in the 200m and 4x100m relay.

Jamaica hold all the aces, including Shericka Jackson, and they could do it with a clean sweep

Jamaica hold all the aces, including Shericka Jackson, and they could do it with a clean sweep

Johnson-Thompson, meanwhile, comes on shaky footing, having split with her coach Petros Kypriana last month after falling well short of her target of 6400 points in Austria, scoring just 6174 points.

But the important thing is that she is healthy again and has put together a consistent block of training. The heptathlon starts on Sunday.

The middle distance races could throw Britain’s best medal chances when Olympic silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson takes on American duo Athing Mu and Ajee Wilson in the 800m.

Laura Muir will run in the 1,500m on Friday at 2:10 a.m., although gold looks set for Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon.

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