The Italian Olympic movement is furious over the exclusion of sprinter Marcell Jacobs from the nominees list for male athlete of the year by World Athletics, with a senior official calling it “a lack of respect” and “profoundly wrong.”
The sport’s governing body announced a list of 10 nominees for the prestigious award but found no room for the only man to win two golds on the track at the Tokyo Olympics. Jacobs was the surprise Olympic champion in the 100 metres – the signature event of track and field – and also helped Italy to gold in the 4×100 relay.
“It’s profoundly wrong,” Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò said Friday, a day after the nominees were announced. “We’re very upset.”
Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi, who tied for Olympic gold with Mutaz Barshim in his event moments before Jacobs won the 100, also failed to make the cut. Malagò said the omissions amount to “a lack of respect toward our two athletes.”
The 10 nominees are Joshua Cheptegei, Ryan Crouser, Mondo Duplantis, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Eliud Kipchoge, Pedro Pichardo, Daniel Stahl, Miltiadis Tentoglou, Damian Warner and Karsten Warholm. The nominees were selected by an international panel of athletics experts, comprising representatives from all six continental areas of World Athletics. The winner will be announced in December.
Jacobs, also won the 60 meters at the European Indoor championships in March, did not compete after the Olympics, when he withdrew from his remaining Diamond League events to recover from a knee injury. “As always, the World Athletics Awards will recognise athletes who have performed at the highest level across the year, taking into account not only the Olympic Games, but the one-day meeting circuits,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.