ISTANBUL, Turkey – Lamont Jacobs, the reigning Olympic and European 100m champion, is gearing up to defend his European Indoor 60m title at the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships from 2-5 March. Despite his impressive track record, Jacobs’ recent losses have left fans and analysts questioning his form heading into the competition.
The Italian sprinter was stunned by the relatively unknown Samuele Ceccarelli at the Italian Indoor Championships 2023 and was beaten by Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala at the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais Lievin 2023.
Jacobs, who is also the reigning world and European indoor 60m champion, would have been disappointed with the recent setbacks, but he is expected to make a strong comeback and perform at his championship level against some of Europe’s best sprinters.
Ceccarelli had a personal best of just 6.72 seconds before this season, with a current 100m PB of just 10.45 secs has been rapidly improving this season, and his performance chart is clear evidence.
The 22-year-old clocked an impressive 6.61 seconds for a then PB on January 15 to mark the start of his so far successful season, and he has gone on to dominate his all-time 60m performances with a total of eight impressive times, including his 6.54 victory to claim the title at the Italian championship.
“Beating a champion of this caliber is like no other,” said Ceccarelli, who took inspiration from his victory over Jacobs.
While Jacobs took his defeat at the national championships gracefully, the 28-year-old is fully prepared to compete in Istanbul. He will point to his success at the Olympics and European Championships as evidence of his prowess in the sport.
Jacobs won Olympic 100m gold in Tokyo in 2021 and set a flashing European record of 9.80 and last March, he beat some of the world’s best over 60m, including USA’s world record-holder Christian Coleman, and set another European record of 6.41 secs in Belgrade, Serbia.
Jacobs faces a tough challenge from Great Britain’s Reece Prescod, who may not be an archetypal indoor specialist but leads the European list with a lifetime best of 6.49 and is unbeaten in his eight 60m races in 2023.
Additionally, Kayhan Ozer and Emre Zafer Barnes of Turkey are expected to put up a good fight.
Despite his recent defeats, Jacobs has posted some impressive times this year. He ran 6.57 at Łódź on 4 Feb, 6.64 and 6.57 at Liévin on 15 Feb, and 6.56 and 6.55 at the National Championships in Ancona on 19 Feb.
As the championship approaches, all eyes will be on Jacobs to see if he can maintain his dominance at major championships by bouncing back from his recent setbacks.