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Dina Asher-Smith is poised to defend titles at the European Championships, but injury is a worry

It only takes 11 seconds, maybe a little less, for Dina Asher-Smith to figure it out.

At the European Championships here on Tuesday, the queen of European sprinting will learn whether all is well with her body, or whether the hamstring injury she sustained during the World Championships in Oregon last month is now nothing but a distant memory.

Asher-Smith will do her best as the defending champion in the 100m and 200m, but after an interrupted preparation, the question is whether she still has the strength, pace and technical precision to dominate the best in Europe.

Dina Asher-Smith wants to defend her title at the European 100m championship in Munich

Dina Asher-Smith wants to defend her title at the European 100m championship in Munich

Asher-Smith missed the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with a minor hamstring injury

Asher-Smith missed the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with a minor hamstring injury

Asher-Smith missed the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with a minor hamstring injury

It has been just over three weeks since she suffered a ‘minor hamstring injury’ during the 4x100m world final, which knocked her out before the Commonwealth Games.

She then said it was “nothing to worry about” and told her manager Ricky Simms… Sports post during the weekend that she has been in full training for the past two weeks.

Asher-Smith is one of the top 12 athletes and cannot miss tomorrow’s 100m semifinals. When she’s back to her best, she’ll probably be unstoppable in Tuesday night’s final, but if she’s lost a head start in fitness, there’s a group of athletes who might be able to take her crown.

Chief among them is Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji, who finished fifth in the world final of the 100m in Oregon in 10.91 seconds, with Asher-Smith finishing fourth and equaling her British record with 10.83. Then there’s Daryll Neita, who beat Asher-Smith to the British 100m title in June.

The 26-year-old has had a rough time with injuries lately, but hopes they're behind her

The 26-year-old has had a rough time with injuries lately, but hopes they're behind her

The 26-year-old has had a rough time with injuries lately, but hopes they’re behind her

But Asha Philip won’t be there, having tested positive for Covid. Asher-Smith will also race in the 200m and 4x100m relay and, having won gold in all three events at the last edition in Berlin, she will be looking to do the same in Munich.

Great Britain topped the medal tally at those 2018 championships, winning seven golds, and they are hoping for their first athletic gold of the week in the women’s 10,000 meters.

At the stadium that hosted the 1972 Olympics, Eilish McColgan will attempt to repeat her Commonwealth Games victory over the 25-lap distance.

The 31-year-old’s previous best finish at the European Championships was the silver medal she won in the 5,000m four years ago, but she is by far the fastest in the field with the 30:19.02 she ran in June. One of her threats could be teammate Jess Judd, who finished one place behind her in 11th place in the 10,000m final last month.

Asha Philip (above) will not run 100m in Munich after testing positive for Covid recently

Asha Philip (above) will not run 100m in Munich after testing positive for Covid recently

Asha Philip (above) will not run 100m in Munich after testing positive for Covid recently

Then there’s Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, the defending champion who recently won the marathon bronze at the World Championships, and Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, who finished eighth in the 5000m world final in Oregon.

While the Dundee native may bring some fatigue into the event, McColgan also brings a newfound confidence. “I am getting stronger, not only physically but also mentally. I now believe in myself and confidence has always been a great asset to me.’

The men’s 100m also offers a great shot at British gold with defending champion Zharnel Hughes along with Reece Prescod, Jeremiah Azu and Ojie Edoburun.

British sprinter Zharnel Hughes (pictured) is looking for a medal in the 100m.  for men

British sprinter Zharnel Hughes (pictured) is looking for a medal in the 100m.  for men

British sprinter Zharnel Hughes (pictured) is looking for a medal in the 100m. for men

Reece Prescod is just one of Hughes' British teammates who will also participate

Reece Prescod is just one of Hughes' British teammates who will also participate

Reece Prescod is just one of Hughes’ British teammates who will also participate

All eyes will be on Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs in tomorrow’s semi-final, after the Italian withdrew from the world semi-final last month due to injury.

Meanwhile, middle-distance stars Jake Wightman, Laura Muir and Keely Hodgkinson will all aim to make it a summer hat-trick for major championship medals in Munich, having already reached the podium at both the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

Wightman, who won the world title in the 1500m before taking Commonwealth bronze in Birmingham, will drop to the 800m in Munich.

Scottish Laura Muir is looking for success in her middle distance run in Munich

Scottish Laura Muir is looking for success in her middle distance run in Munich

Scottish Laura Muir is looking for success in her middle distance run in Munich

“I’d love a medal, I’d be happy with that,” he said Sports post.

“I would expect to make it to the final, but that is not at all obvious. The ultimate goal would be to win it.’

Muir looks untouchable in Friday night’s 1500m final, her season best of 3:55.28, nearly six seconds ahead of the next best in the field.

400m runner Matthew Hudson-Smith wants to improve on his Commonwealth bronze

400m runner Matthew Hudson-Smith wants to improve on his Commonwealth bronze

400m runner Matthew Hudson-Smith wants to improve on his Commonwealth bronze

But if the Scottish 29-year-old suffers fatigue from her world bronze medal and Commonwealth gold, Ireland’s Ciara Mageean and Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui could be dangerous. In the women’s 800m, the path seems clear for Hodgkinson to win her first major outdoor championship title.

The 20-year-old won silver at last year’s Olympics and this year’s World Championships before being defeated by Kenya’s Mary Moraa in the Commonwealth final in Birmingham. Her biggest threat could come from British teammate Jemma Reekie.

Matthew Hudson-Smith will be sure to finish his summer in gold in the men’s 400m final on Wednesday, having already won world bronze and Commonwealth silver.

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