Home South London Four south London athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics

Four south London athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics

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The Tokyo Olympics is underway following an opening ceremony like no other on Friday night, with the athletes’ parade and traditional lighting of the torch taking place in front of empty stands.

Among Team GB were four track and field hopefuls from south London, who cut their teeth in local athletics clubs.

Team GB’s biggest medal hope on the track, 25-year-old Dina Asher-Smith, grew up in Orpington, attending Newstead Woods and training with Bromley and Blackheath Harriers.

Dina Asher-Smith

The world 200m champion took the British 100m title in 10.97 seconds and declared she was in great shape amid impressive results elsewhere.

She will start her bid for glory on July 30, the first morning of the athletics, in the 100m heats, with the semi-final and final the following day.

She will also run in the 200m, with the final on August 3, as she looks to add to her 200m world title.

Fellow sprinter Adam Gemili, 27, also trained with Bromley and Blackheath Harriers.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Adam GemiliAdam Gemili

Few other athletes have gone through Gemili’s emotional rollercoaster.

Fourth at the Rio Olympics by three thousandths of a second, he suffered a repeat at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, finishing fourth again.

He says he is over it, preferring to look forward rather than back, but the times in the US trials over the weekend are ominous and he might not get as close again.

Laurence Okoye, 29, is preparing for his Olympic discus comeback in Tokyo after nine years away from Team GB.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Laurence OkoyeLaurence Okoye

Hailing from Croydon, he finished 12th at London 2012 and a year later he quit the circle and signed for the San Francisco 49ers in an attempt to crack the NFL.

In four-and-a-half years, which included spells with the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, he failed to play a competitive game.

He won the British Championships with a throw of 61.71m in Manchester last month after winning the discus at the European Team Championships in Poland.

The British record holder, who threw 68.24m in 2012, remains confident he can challenge in Tokyo, with his best effort of 67.13m this year 4.27m behind world leader Daniel Stahl of Sweden.

Stephanie Davis, 30, a member of Clapham Chasers athletics club, is competing in the marathon.

A part-time runner, also working in finance, she qualified for the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics after winning the British Olympic trial event.

She only ran her first marathon in 2018, finishing with an impressive time of two hours 41 minutes.

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