Familiar foes for Omanyala in Florence after home favourite Marcell Jacobs pulls out again

ATHLETICS Familiar foes for Omanyala in Florence after home favourite Marcell Jacobs pulls out again

Joel Omotto 07:06 - 31.05.2023

The Italian Olympic champion will not be fit to feature in the Florence Diamond League on Friday.

Ferdinand Omanyala will have to worry about Fred Kerley and Akani Simbine again at the Florence Diamond League on Friday after Olympic champion and home favourite Marcell Jacobs pulled out of the men’s 100m race.

The Italian Olympic 100m champion, Jacobs who missed the Rabat Diamond League on Sunday due to a back injury will not win the fitness race for Friday’s event, according to the Italian athletics federation.

“The recovery process for Jacobs, after the problem that appeared in the last few days, seems not to be fully completed yet,” the federation said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Italian won the Tokyo Olympics gold in 2021 ahead of Kerley and many had expected a tough battle between the two in Florence ahead of their battle at the World Championships in Budapest in August.

Jacobs missed most of last season, including the world championships, due to health issues.

In Rabat, Kerley had sent a message to the great absentee by winning in 9.94. Before the Moroccan meeting, the American world champion and his Italian counterpart frequently sent spades on social networks, demanding a duel, before Jacobs forfeited. The announcement was greeted online by the mockery of Kerley.

It means Kerley will meet the same cast he took on in Rabat, including Kenya’s Omanyala, who finished third on Sunday.

Omanyala has promised to right the wrongs of Rabat in Florence after suffering his first 100m defeat of the season when he clocked 10.05 behind Kerley and South African Simbine who finished second.

The star-studded headline event will also feature reigning Diamond League champion Trayvon Bromell and fellow Americans Erriyon Knighton as well as Kenneth Bednarek, who Omanyala beat when winning the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on May 13.