Mike Rowbottom @insidethegames.biz

On the face of it, you wouldn’t think there was much in common between Britain’s new European 100 metres champion Dina Asher-Smith and Muhammad Ali - but both float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Having won the European 100m women’s title in 10.85sec, equalling the fastest time recorded this season, and having done her thing for the longer run of stadium, television, radio and press interviews, Asher-Smith finally departed - exit stage right - for the temporary peace of her hotel with a final raising of eyebrows and the words: "Now the 200…"

It was a startling but unsurprising victory for one of the sport’s most vivid rising talents in a cavernous bowl of an Olympic Stadium that has witnessed historic sprinting deeds from Jesse Owens and, nine years ago, Usain Bolt.

Asher-Smith’s preparations for last season’s home World Championships were severely undermined by a freak training accident that left her with a broken foot. She finished fourth in the 200m final.

But now this 22-year-old history graduate from King’s College, London, who seems to have electricity running through her both on and off the track, has resumed pursuit of her ambitions - tomorrow’s 200m, and Sunday’s 4x100m are next on her list - with an intensity that it is easy to miss upon first glance.

"A happy Dina is a fast Dina" - Britain's Asher-Smith celebrates winning the European Championships 100 metres title in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in 10.85c, equalling the world's fastest time of the season ©Getty Images

She may bounce up and down, she may talk at 100 miles an hour, but once she spots an error or inconsistency in the line of questioning, she is onto it instantly.

Item one.

Raising the inevitable subject of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, one reporter in the mixed zone after the 100m final commented: "You’ve got to feel like you can take on the best in the world now, you’ve got the fastest time in the world now and…"

Suddenly he had been vivaciously interrupted by his interviewee.

"Equal. Equal. Equal. Equal. You have to say equal because I can’t say I’m the fastest."

But then, like the good student, Asher-Smith answered the question asked on the paper.

"We’ll have to wait and see because by then there will probably be new faces, new names. But ultimately we do work in cycles and I’m building on to Tokyo. Equal. I’ll take it. It’s better than none."

Excited she still may have been; but not remotely over-excited.

Dina Asher-Smith crosses the line to take gold, with The Netherlands' defending champion Dafne Schippers, whom she will now meet in the 200 metres, taking the bronze medal ©Getty Images
Dina Asher-Smith crosses the line to take gold, with The Netherlands' defending champion Dafne Schippers, whom she will now meet in the 200 metres, taking the bronze medal ©Getty Images

Item two.

When I suggested that her 100m performance was likely to put her in a good frame of mind for the 200m, the response was cautious.

"Hopefully," she said, "but it’s all about how I recover tomorrow. I’m going to wake up tomorrow and I might find out it actually took something out of me!   But I feel fine now."

Venturing the technical assessment that all her opponents would also be "knackered", I was swiftly, but of course vivaciously, corrected.

"Not all of them. There’s some of them that haven’t. No, I know my race."

It is clear as she talks - as swiftly as she runs - that behind the vivacity there is a reflective and highly competitive character.

"For me, I’ve worked out over the years, I have to be chilled to run well," she said.

"Some people they have to be really serious, really committed and focused, some people have to be like nervous and kind of scared, but for me I just have to be happy.

"I have to be in a good mood. So I’m listening to my favourite music, having a bit of a dance, chilled out. I found out from London last year, just trial and error, that a happy and relaxed Dina is a fast Dina."

Poland's Konrad Bukowiecki, a year younger than Dina Asher-Smith, celebrates a Berlin shot put silver medal ©Getty Images
Poland's Konrad Bukowiecki, a year younger than Dina Asher-Smith, celebrates a Berlin shot put silver medal ©Getty Images

A little later in that sauna-like mixed zone there was an opportunity to speak to another young athlete whom the "floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee" line suited, albeit a heavyweight to match Ali in physical stature.

Poland’s 21-year-old shot putter Konrad Bukowiecki had ended the night taking the silver medal behind compatriot Michal Haratyk with an effort of 21.66 metres, his outdoor personal best and a national under-23 record.

We shook hands after talking, and as his mighty paw closed I was just a little thankful that it’s full grip had been hindered by the finger injury which has also held his throwing ambitions in check this year.

The smiling giant had been happy to demonstrate the lingering effects of his unhappy accident - the middle finger of his throwing hand was still mottled and bruised.

"I crushed a bone at the base of the finger while throwing," he said, adding with a broad grin: "And then my friend shut his car door on it.

"I also twisted my ankle four days before the competition."

The Poles had taken two golds and two silvers on the night thanks to the men’s shot put and hammer event. Here, not that it was needed, was a demonstration of the special spirit of Polish throwing.

"That’s why we are the best," Bukowiecki said. "We do everything to be a great throwing team, the greatest. Two golds and two silvers. That’s a good day for Polish throwers. But there are more medals to come from us."

More medals from him, more medals from her. The post-Bolt era is already getting nicely populated.