07-05-2022 by Freddie del Curatolo
The easiest joke circulated this morning in the "sports bars" of Nairobi: "the Italian has wet himself with fear".
After the crackling press conference to the sound of jokes and goliardic challenges between Marcell Jacobs, the Italian 100m Olympic champion who arrived in the Kenyan capital on Friday morning and Ferdinand Omanyala, the Kenyan sprinter and continental record holder over the same distance, in the evening the American-born Italian felt sick to his stomach and was hospitalized for investigations at Uhai Neema Hospital in Nairobi, where he remained all night.
As a result, the Italian federation has decided to announce that the champion will renounce to the race that was scheduled for this afternoon at 4.55 pm and that will be held regularly without his exceptional star.
It is not the first time that Kenya and in particular the altitude and climate of Nairobi play tricks on the physique of athletes and performers. Kind of like Mexico City with what they call the "curse of Montezuma." Here there is Mount Kenya, if anything, with its black magic. But there's also water with different germs than we Westerners are used to, nothing dangerous often but sometimes requiring a few days of acclimatization.
"The Olympic champion took the decision this morning with his staff, due to intestinal problems that occurred yesterday (Friday) in Kenya," the Italian federation wrote on its website a few hours before the start of the Continental Tour meeting. "Marcell will not report to the starting blocks today because he remains under observation in the emergency room of Uhai Neema Hospital, under the control of the Italian NGO World Friends," his coach Paolo Camossi said, quoted by the federation.
Jacobs is scheduled to compete in a 200m at the meet in Savona, Italy, on May 18, followed by a five-star 100m on May 28 at the Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon, where the world championships will be held in July.
Wishing the great Jacobs well, we close with a joke...that he wasn't competing was written in his gut....
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