Olympic champion Jacobs ‘inspired’ by Kerley rivalry as showdown looms
ROME, Italy, (AFP) – Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs on Friday described his rivalry with US world champion Fred Kerley as “inspiring” as the Italian announced he will compete in next month’s Paris Diamond League meet.
Jacobs had a mediocre 2022, blighted by injury, as Kerley, who he beat to gold at the Tokyo Olympics, grabbed centre stage.
The pair have not raced against each other since the Olympics final but will go head-to-head over 100m in the Diamond League meets in Rabat on May 28 and Florence on June 2.
“It’s good to create a bit of interest, individual challenges, to get people talking about us,” Jacobs told AFP.
“I think it’s important, it helps everyone in athletics a bit and it always inspires us more. It will be a good duel.
“We have been discussing this duel for quite some time, we’ve managed to do it.
“He’s in good shape, he has already competed, next week he will race in Japan (Yokohama on May 21), so he will arrive having gauged the competition.”
Jacobs first race will be in Rabat.
“It will be a surprise, but I can’t wait to have fun,” he said.
The Italian will also race American Noah Lyles, the Tokyo Olympic 200m bronze medallist and a two-time world champion over that distance, for the first time in the 100m in Paris on June 9.
“With Lyles we have never met, he’s a very great athlete, American record holder in the 200m, it will be a very good race.”
Jacobs is also hoping to compete in the 4x100m with Italy in 2024 Olympic host city Paris before the individual races.
“I can’t wait to discover the atmosphere that I will experience again next year, to connect with the French public, to have additional support.”
Returning from injury, Jacobs lost the 60m indoors at the European Indoor Championships in March to compatriot Samuele Ceccarelli.
“The indoor season hasn’t been the best,” he conceded.
“I may have thought too much that it would be easier, but we hadn’t made it a real objective for the season, we especially wanted to run so as not to stay too long without competing.
“But these defeats clearly hurt me, they hurt me a little, these are lessons that gave me even more desire to regain victory.
“Last year was very difficult for me because I wanted to run, run, but my body said no.
“We worked mainly from a technical point of view to rediscover the feelings that I needed to find. We decided to resume competition later to allow more time. But now I’m ready.”