Italy basks in golden 100m, highjump success

Rome (AFP) –


Italy on Sunday basked in double Olympic success after Gianmarco Tamberi won highjump gold and then Lamont Marcell Jacobs followed up by storming to Tokyo Games glory in the men's 100 metres.

"I am proud of you. I followed you. You honour Italy," said Prime Minister Mario Draghi after calling the mobile phone of Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago, cabinet sources said.

Italian lawmakers gathered for a clutch of votes before parliament breaks for a summer recess greeted news of Tamberi's and Jacob's achievements with enthusiastic applause.

With both Jacobs, 26, and 29-year-old Tamberi members of the now even more aptly-named "Fiamme oro" (golden flames) national police sporting club -- which has produced a welter of Olympic champions over the years -- Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese was also quick to salute their exploits.

"Congratulations to Gianmarco Tamberi and Lamont Marcell Jacobs for the historic gold medals they have just landed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo," Lamorgese said in a statement, noting the "immense satisfaction and great pride" their wins had engendered.

Jacobs, a relative unknown, raced to victory in a European record of 9.80sec in athletics' blue riband event as he broke Jamaican legend Usain Bolt's 13-year grip on the title.

The win gave Italy a first ever men's 100m gold medal -- the country had previously not even managed a podium. Pietro Mennea pulled off a 200m triumph in the 1980 Games in Moscow, however.

"When he was little I told him he would join Usain Bolt and we are on track for that," said Texas-born Jacob's mother Viviana Masini.

"The next target is the world record. And he will get there, if not this year then next year," the AGI news agency reported her as telling Italian radio.

Tamberi meanwhile ended up sharing gold with his friend from Qatar, Mutaz Barshim, who like him has had to battle back from serious ankle injuries.

Parties across the political spectrum saluted their champions as Italy enjoyed yet more summer glory following their footballing triumph at the Euros.

Former leftist prime minister Matteo Renzi rejoiced in the writing of "a page of history, tears of joy and emotion. How beautiful is sport, the Olympics. Viva Italia."

"Proud of you," wrote Giorgia Meloni, who heads the far right Fratelli d'Italia party.

"Two golds in ten minutes, we are proud of you Gianmarco and Marcell Jacobs," tweeted far right Northern League head Matteo Salvini.

Italy now have four Olympic gold medals, eight silver and 15 bronze.