Dina Asher-Smith’s British teammates have praised her bravery after the sprinter opened up about the impact of her period at this year’s European Athletics Championships.
Asher-Smith qualified fastest for the Women’s 100m final in Munich but limped out of the final after suffering a calf cramp.
The 26-year-old later revealed it was ‘girls stuff’ that caused the problem and urged for more period sports science to help female athletes deal with their cycles in the future.
What did Asher-Smith say?
Speaking to BBC Sport, Asher-Smith said: “It is a huge topic for women in sport.
“It is something I think more people need to research from a sports science perspective.
“Sometimes you see girls who have been so consistent have a random dip, and behind the scenes they have been really struggling.
“It could do with more funding because if it was a men’s issue we would have a million different ways to combat things.”
"People don't always talk about it… if it was a men's issue we'd have a million different ways to combat things"— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 19, 2022
GB sprinter Dina Asher-Smith calls for more period sports science after her menstrual cycle causes her to pull up with cramp in 100m finalhttps://t.co/hWvN8pOXnX pic.twitter.com/ZcFCthifp9
Asher-Smith’s teammates speak out
After Britain’s women’s 4x100m women qualified fastest for Saturday’s final, Imani-Lara Lansiquot revealed she was also on her period.
Addressing the lack of research into dealing with the effects of periods, she said: “One hundred per cent there should be more funding.
“I still think it’s quite shocking that it’s taboo. I’m going through it right now. I’m sure all of us have gone through it at some point but we’ve still not even said anything to each other because it feels like a massive taboo that isn’t discussed.”
Similarly, Ashleigh Nelson, another member of the GB relay team, suggested that things would be different if this was a men’s issue.
“If this was a man’s issue, we would be dealing with it,” she said.
“It’s very difficult that once a month you have to plan your training, your diet, your life around having a period. There are things you can take to postpone your period but they also have side effects so you’re in a Catch-22. You can’t win. But it’s part of being a woman and a lot of us handle it very well.”
Asher-Smith’s bad luck continues
Three years ago, Asher-Smith became the 200m World champion in Doha but she has not had it all her own way since then.
A hamstring injury wrecked her chances at Tokyo 2020 last summer, while she was forced out of this year’s Commonwealth Games with a muscle injury sustained at the World Championships.
Having pulled up in the 100m final earlier this week, Asher-Smith was vying to retain her title in the 200m, but could only finish second behind Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.
“I definitely came here for the gold, but sometimes it is what it is,” she said.