Marcell Jacobs during the press conference of the Rome 24 Sprint Festival. GETTY IMAGES

Marcell Jacobs is confident that he can dip under 10 seconds as he returns to Italy for Sprint Festival: his first European 100 metres race in the build up to his Olympic title defence in Paris this summer, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday. 

Jacobs, who stunned the athletics world three years ago with two golds in the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games, is racing in Rome on Saturday — beginning a run of pre-Olympic competitions he is taking part in after arriving in Europe from his base in Florida.

"If everything goes as well as possible then yes, I can, given how I've been running in my most recent training sessions. But you have to it on the track," Jacobs told reporters when asked if he could run under 10 seconds this weekend.

Assuming he doesn't have any more injury issues, Jacobs will compete in Ostrava Golden Spike on 28 May and the Oslo Diamond League events two days later, ahead of defending his European 100m title in the Italian capital next month.

Jacobs will then defend his 100m and 4x100m relay Olympic crowns in Paris, where he says he believes he can reclaim gold. "I go on the track to run faster than the rest and win everything I can, I won't hide that," said Jacobs. "But I don't have a time in mind, I just want to perform as best I can, get into the finals which is what really matters because once you're there you know that anything can happen."

Jacobs, who is also 60m world champion, has struggled with a series of muscular problems and flopped at last year's worlds in Budapest, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals.

He is happy with his radical decision to move from Italy to the United States to team up with coach Rana Reider, whose Florida training group also includes American Trayvon Bromell, Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse and Japanese sprinter Abdul Hakim Sani Brown.

Jacobs came second over 100m to Bromell, the two-time world bronze medallist, in an opening run-out in his hometown of Jacksonville last month.

"These last few months away from it all have allowed me to get back in touch with myself, with what I really want from life and from the track," added Jacobs. "I remember when I was a kid and I went on the track, it was a perfect world where I was happy... it had got to the point where it wasn't like that anymore. Right now I can say that I'm happy, at peace, carefree and that I'm doing what I love most. I'm enjoying it."