Jacobs to take a sabbatical till 2022

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Olympic 100m champion’s decision comes in the backdrop of ‘doping insinuations’

Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who claimed a shock Olympic triumph in the 100m, said on Friday he had decided not to run again until 2022 so he could be in top form next year.

No simple decision

“It’s not a simple decision,” he said in an interview on Rai 1 public television, the day after announcing the pause on social media.

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“I am the first to want to compete every week, but you get to a certain point in which you realise that it does not end here, in the sense that this is only a great starting point,” Jacobs said.

Almost unknown

Almost unknown a year ago, the 26-year-old claimed a shock triumph in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics as well as gold in the 4x100m relay.

His stunning victory was achieved in a European record of 9.80s.

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The Texas-born sprinter had been scheduled to next run on August 21 at the Eugene Diamond League meet in the United States, before appearing in Brussels and Zurich in early September.

“Next year there are some very important events,” including the European and World Championships, he said, and “every time I race I want to raise the bar”.

More work was needed, he said, and “for next year I want to arrive the top of the top, confirm (my results), actually improve on what I achieved this year.”

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Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera said on Thursday Jacobs had called a halt after a fall blamed on “the accumulated fatigue of the Olympics as well as a knee problem”.

Eyebrows have been raised in some quarters about Jacobs’ performance, as before 2020, his times in the 100m had never gone below the 10-second barrier.

Britain’s The Times ran a story last weekend about how Jacobs’ former sports nutritionist was caught up in an Italian police investigation into the alleged illegal distribution of anabolic steroids.

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Jacobs said on Friday insinuations of doping “haven’t touched me because I know all the sacrifices and setbacks I took to get to this moment, and I want to enjoy it 100 percent”.

He was also asked about the suspension of British sprinter C.J. Ujah — who won an Olympic silver medal in the 4x100m relay in Tokyo — over an alleged anti-doping breach.

Irony

“It makes me smile a little,” he added.

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“Because a week ago they said so many things about me that were not true, and they have the relay runner with a positive result in their own backyard,” Jacobs said.

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