With the coming fixture congestion in athletics, the treble Olympics Medalist and the new track and field GB team captain, Kelly Sotherton fears that it will be difficult for Dina Asher-Smith to win an historic Commonwealth treble.
“The fixture congestion is not ideal,” Sotherton said. “Hopefully, ideally, we would have loved to see Dina Asher-Smith come to Birmingham, do the treble again. That is not going to happen realistically. She is not going to go to the worlds then come to Birmingham and maybe even go to the Europeans in Munich. She will maybe be selective.
“My job is to speak to everybody and say: ‘OK, is the Commonwealth Games in your plans? If not, why isn’t it? It is a home Games. It should be a priority because your profile will be massive going into it, everyone will want to know who you are and you will gain new fans. Commercially it will be better for you.’ But I understand that financially for the better athletes the worlds will be where it is at because there is potential for more money.”
The former heptathlete added: “KJT is not coming to the Commonwealth Games to do a heptathlon but she might come and do a long jump or high jump. In the same way maybe Dina might come to Birmingham to do the relay. I would love all of the stars to be part of the Games so all the fans can see them. It is finding that balance.”
Sotherton is optimistic she can help England surpass the 29 athletics medals won when the Games were staged in Manchester in 2002. “I truly believe we can get that or can exceed that,” she said. “I believe we can be the most successful team at a home Games. From being a coach at age groups the last five years you can see a lot of talent coming through and that is really promising in the 18-20 bracket.”