Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy crosses the line to win gold in Tokyo on Sunday. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs outshone a field of unusual suspects to claim a shock Olympic gold in the men's 100 metres on Sunday, breaking retired Jamaican star Usain Bolt's 13-year hold on the blue riband event.
Jacobs became the first Italian in history to be crowned champion in the blue riband event of the Olympic track and field programme after powering home in a blistering 9.80sec.
Jacobs, 26, timed a European record of 9.80 seconds, with American Fred Kerley taking silver in 9.84sec in one of the most understated major championship 100m races of recent times.
Canada's Andre de Grasse, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, repeated the feat in 9.89sec.
The athletes were introduced in a dramatic light show — the stadium floodlights were shut off and 12 projectors cast 3D images of the world, zooming in to the Tokyo skyline, and then the name of each sprinter.
The lights came back on, swiftly followed by a horrendous false start for Zharnel Hughes in lane four, the Anguilla-born Briton not even bothering to question his disqualification.
Dressed in light blue singlet and lycra shorts, the US-born Jacobs, in lane three, made a good start, held his nerve through the drive phase and powered through to the line.
The race, run in stifling temperatures of 30˚C, had a distinctly underwhelming build-up and feel to it as hot favourite Trayvon Bromell bombed out of the semi-finals in which China's Su Bingtian and Jacobs unexpectedly set Asian and European records respectively.
The Tokyo Olympics are the first since Athens in 2004 to take place without Bolt, who went on to win three consecutive Olympic 100m titles in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, as well as three straight 200m crowns.
And for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games, there was no Jamaican in the final, Bolt's long-time former teammate Yohan Blake failing to qualify from his semi-final.
The field was instead filled with a raft of relatively unknown sprinters, with Jacobs' main claim to fame a European 60m indoor title earlier this year.
The Abes' success gave Japan its third and fourth gold medal of the day after Yuto Horigome took skateboarding's first Olympic title and swimmer Yui Ohashi was the surprise winner of the women's 400m individual competition.
Family members were not allowed to accompany athletes due to coronavirus restrictions but later the International Olympic panel had announced that breastfeeding mothers would be allowed to bring their children to Japan.
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