Daryll Neita: GB sprinter targets sprint medals at Paris 2024

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Comment on the photo, Watch coverage of the third Diamond League match of the season in Doha on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website and app from 17:00 GMT on Friday.

In terms of the opening races of the season, beating the world champion in the 100m is not a bad place to start with.

Such an outstanding performance is only amplified in an Olympic year, but with less than three months until Paris 2024, Darryl Nita remains focused on enjoying her journey.

This was evident at the Suzhou Diamond League, where the 27-year-old achieved a stunning victory in the 200 meters in 22.62 seconds, and behind her was American Shakari Richardson – also a world medalist in that distance.

She will aim to build further momentum when she competes over the 100m at the upcoming Diamond League meeting in Doha on Friday, live on BBC Two from 17:00 GMT.

  • author, Harry Paul
  • Role, BBC Sport journalist

“It’s nice to shock yourself,” the British runner tells BBC Sport.

“My coach was pushing me a lot, so I went into the race expecting to win and wanting to win, but in terms of time I had no idea what was going to happen. Maybe crossing the line feeling good is why I showed it. It’s the emotion.

“It’s been a good run against a strong squad and that gives me a lot of confidence heading into the summer. I’m in a great place.”

Despite her grand ambitions, Nita manages to stay in the present.

After a training period she described as a “crazy winter process” with coach Marco Aerali in Italy, the London-born athlete has decided to maintain her upward trajectory and believes it could lead to a place on the Olympic podium.

Having won five world medals as a regular in the British women’s 4x100m team – including bronze at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics – she will be aiming to repeat that success in both the 100m and 200m in Paris.

“My goals go beyond limits,” says Nita. “I never set limits for myself.”

“I’m 100% aiming for individual medals this summer. I see no reason why anyone shouldn’t believe they can; everyone should aim to be the best.

“This would mean the world to me. I’ve put in a lot of work to be in this position. All that hard work and dedication will pay off.”

“I think it’s possible. This would be the best feeling ever.”

Video explanation, Diamond League Shanghai: Briton “phenomenal” Daryl Nita wins the 200m

Described as a “supercar” by coach Eral, who has worked with her since moving to Italy two years ago, Nita claimed the first individual international medals of her career in 2022 with a 100m bronze at the European and Commonwealth Games.

It has only been three years since she finished eighth in her first world final at the Tokyo Olympics, but she showed her impressive progress by finishing within 0.24 seconds of the podium among a star-studded line-up in the 200m at the World Championships last summer.

“I’m really proud of my journey and I’m enjoying it, which is probably the main thing,” says Nita.

“I’m not someone who focuses too much on the past or the future, I like to be in the present. When you’re in the present, good things happen.

“For me, it’s about staying on that high vibration, drawing positives from everything that happens, and seeing the glass as half full all the time.”

It’s a journey that began when Netta, the second-fastest British woman in history, was scouted at a school sports day – an opportunity without which she believes she “wouldn’t be where I am now”.

Keen to “give back,” she recently launched an initiative close to her heart – the Darryl Nita Athletics Community – to provide the next generation with these priceless opportunities, while also aiming to produce inspiring performances on the track.

There has been an emphasis on increasing strength and power over recent months to build the foundations for what can be a grueling Olympic schedule; Nita will race six times over five consecutive days if she achieves her goal of reaching the individual finals, before competing in the relay.

Her competitors certainly caught a glimpse of that hard work in last month’s match in China, which will only strengthen her belief as she pursues Olympic glory.

“This part of the season is about getting out there and learning from your races and preparing for the summer because Paris is the main goal,” says Nita.

“Every time you go there, you can learn something new. Everything that leads to Paris is a stepping stone – but you have to enjoy the process.”

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