She chose to move to Rome after the Tokyo Olympics, inspired by the exploits of Marcell Jacobs, Gianmarco Tamberi and all the other Italian Olympic champions. It was there that Zaynab Dosso realised she did not want to stand by and watch. She changed city, pace, habits, decided to live athletics as a true professional. Saturday 27 January in Lodz (Poland) will be the first outing of the year for Italy’s fastest woman, record holder in the 60, 100 and 4×100. But thoughts are already turning to the European Championships in Rome, scheduled for 7 to 12 June, because such an event, just a few hundred metres from ‘her’ Paolo Rosi Stadium, does not happen every day.

“A few years ago I took the decision to move to the capital. It was not easy to move from a very small town (Rubiera, province of Reggio Emilia, ed.) to such a giant city, but it was the beginning of a dream, which will continue at the European Championships,” reveals the class of ’99, who hopes to present herself at her best at the big appointments of the season. “At 2024 I ask for a lot of health, which was lacking last year. We’ll need it to face the European Championships at home and the Olympics,” admits Zaynab, who has no doubts about the secret of the Italian relay team, with which she won bronze at the European Championships in Munich in 2022 and came close to the world podium in Budapest with an Italian record of 42.14 (fourth place): “Surely our strength is unity. We girls have always been united and the results we have achieved are the result of work that starts from afar”.

Cohesion, ambition, determination and a lot of willpower, following in the footsteps of Jacobs and Tamberi, models to follow: “What they did in Tokyo left me with an incredible fire inside. I was there, struggling with a thousand injuries, but they gave me great energy,” says Dosso, “and it was a magical moment. When I came back, I told myself that I had to do something for myself. I am dedicating my whole life to trying to achieve my goals”.