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Marcell Jacobs Withdraws From Florence Diamond League, Postpones Kerley, Omanyala Battle
- Marcell Jacobs will not take on Fred Kerley at the highly-anticipated Florence Diamond League
- Jacobs has withdrawn from the Friday race days after pulling out of the Rabat Diamond League
- The Italian has been a no-show in many races since striking gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games
Olympic champion, Lamont Marcell Jacobs has withdrawn from the Florence Diamond League after failing to recover from the discomfort that forced him miss the Rabat Diamond League on Sunday.
The two legs of the World Athletics meets were supposed to provide fans with the enthralling spectacle of the Olympic champion facing world champion, Fred Kerley.
But after Jacobs' latest news, this will have to be postponed again.
The last time an Olympic champion faced a world champion in the 100-metre race was in 2011 when Usain Bolt, the 2008 Olympic champion, beat Yohan Blake, the 2011 world champion.
Since then, Bolt held both titles until his retirement in 2017.
Jacobs surprisingly succeeded Bolt as the Olympic winner, with Kerley settling for silver at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Since then, the two are yet to renew their rivalry, with Jacobs often pulling out of races.
His withdrawal from the Florence Diamond League brings his tally to at least 6 withdrawals in the last 11 months alone. In 6 of these races, he was supposed to face Kerley and Commonwealth champion, Ferdinand Omanyala.
Marcell Jacobs' injuries and withdrawals
On May 7, 2022, the Italian pulled out of the Kip Keino classic in Nairobi, citing intestinal problems. Omanyala went on to floor Kerley in front of a packed Kasarani Stadium.
Jacobs then withdrew from the last Diamond League race in Stockholm, Sweden, before the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. In Stockholm, discomfort in the gluteal muscle was cited, as quoted by NBC Sports.
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His coach, Paolo Camossi insisted there was no need to risk a bigger injury with the World Championships only a fortnight away. However, the 28-year-old failed to make it to the Oregon finals - this time, a thigh injury saw him bow out at the semi-final stage.
His withdrawal meant he couldn't face Kerley in the final. Kerley seized the opportunity and led an American sweep for the first time since 1991 to become the world champion.
With both sprinters now holding titles, a rematch was expected to be on the way soon. Nine months after the Championships, two races have now been organised, but Jacobs has withdrawn from both.
It started with the Rabat meet, where he stated a lumbosacral nerve block was the reason for his decision.
"I am forced to skip the debut 100 meters and the first face-off with Kerley in Rabat, which I was really looking forward to, due to a lumbosacral nerve block that I’m working on resolving in the short term. It’s the result of a misstep and not an injury, which does, however, keep me from competing in Morocco. I’m in strong physical shape, technical and ready for a great outdoor season. The challenge is only postponed," he said on Twitter.
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Nationwide FM now reports that Jacobs has failed to recover in time and thus won't be on the start list in front of his home crowd at the Luigi Ridollfi Stadium.
He also withdrew from the Prefontaine classic, Bislett Games and the Rome Diamond League. He has not raced since doing the 60-metre indoor championships in March.
In his absence, the spotlight will once again be on Kerley and Omanyala. The latter, who is the fastest man this year with 9.84 seconds, will be out to exact his revenge on the reigning world champion after going down in Rabat.
Kerley's dig at Omanyala
Sports Brief previously reported on Kerley taking a subtle dig at Omanyala after beating him at the Rabat Diamond League on May 28.
Kerley clocked 9.94 seconds to win the second leg of the lucrative World Athletics event, with South Africa's Akani Simbine second.
Omanyala finished in third in 10.05 seconds. Going by the quality of the athletes, Kerley's winning time was extremely slow.