Dina Asher-Smith talks about the stand against racism
Team GB star sprinter and athletics captain Dina Asher-Smith has said she is proud her teammates are taking a stand against racism.
England players made the anti-racism gesture of taking a knee throughout Euro 2020, and on Thursday it was announced the GB women’s football team will do the same at the Olympics.
“I think it’s something people are proud to, something that I’ll be proud to do,” she said when asked about protests against racism.
“Particularly as a black person, it’s nice to see people standing against racial inequality, (it’s) especially nice to see people who are from different places in the world stand up against these things.”
Earlier this month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rolled back Rule 50 – which states ‘no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’.
Athletes will now be allowed to protest before the start of competition, although not on the podium.
Gestures will be allowed ‘after leaving the call room or during the introduction of the individual athlete or team’.
Asher-Smith said she is “very proud” of Team GB and that she is “entirely not surprised” the IOC softened their stance.
“I thought it was rather unenforceable,” she said.
“Would you take away someone’s medal? Would you penalise somebody for being against racism?”
Asher-Smith also spoke of the growing role high-profile sports figures have in society, and why they are needed to fill a leadership void.
'We’re seeing sports people and high profile figures have to be more role models'
“More and more, we’re seeing sports people and high profile figures have to be more role models because sometimes the traditional leadership isn’t doing what we all expect them to do, if I’m being quite frank,” she said.
“And we saw that last year with Marcus Rashford and his Free School Meals campaign.
“It’s great and fantastic, but still I think it’s disheartening that he had to fight so hard to get food for people who clearly needed it.
“And despite the fact he is amazing and has done an amazing thing and obviously the country came together, the fact that it was such a battle to get the government to back that - I think that was really sad.”