Zaynab Dosso: “Alle Olimpiadi con le squadre più quotate, ma non aspettatevi uno spettacolo da me”

Estimated read time 4 min read
Zaynab Dosso, 24 anni
In the past spring, while sitting at a table with Marcell Jacobs after a training session at “Paolo Rosi”, Zaynab Dosso made a prediction: “This will be Sha’Carri Richardson’s year.” Three months later, the tattooed American, who had suffered for two years, won the 100m and the 4×100 relay at the World Championships. But also the best Italian sprinter, who combines Italy and Ivory Coast, a star of the “Fiamme Azzurre” (Blue Flames), one year later improved the Italian record for the 60m three times and proposed herself with the third best time (7.02) for tonight’s final at the indoor World Championships in Glasgow.

Zaynab, do you have a crystal ball?
“I had watched a race of Sha’Carri and I was impressed by her way of running. She is the Nicki Minaj of athletics, she is gaining visibility, singers like Drake are talking about her. But people will start to think that you have to become like that to do sports.”

Is there an exaggeration in athletics?
“If you don’t put on a show like Richardson or Noah Lyles, perhaps no sponsor will think of you. My friends came to see me and they said, ‘okay, but you don’t celebrate, you don’t do anything.’ I don’t want to be someone I’m not just to entertain.”

Are your records moving anything in terms of sponsorship?

And what do you see in the Paris Olympics season?
“I’m superstitious, I only see good things for me but I don’t tell them. There is a lot of excitement in the world, and we will have to pay attention not only to the usual favorites. A name? Julien Alfred from Saint Lucia.”

She comes from the US university system: seeing Jacobs leave for the States, didn’t you think about it too?
“No, it’s more likely that I will finish my career in Rome, where I have constant motivation training with male athletes. Marcell was not happy, he had to find opponents with the same times as him. For me, instead, the training model, the peace I have at this moment doesn’t project me anywhere else. When I had bad times, my coach Giorgio Frinolli reminded me of who I really am. When I talked about the World Championship final and everyone laughed, with him we put a piece together day by day to get there.”

Do you dream of being in an Olympic final where perhaps Florence Griffith’s record is broken?
“In my opinion, the record is achievable, but it will take some more time, Elaine Thompson has come close. Who knows with the new shoes, the new tracks. I work to think that the others don’t have much more than me, I don’t go to watch the favorites have fun: I want to play too.”

You are building all this in Rome, but you come from Rubiera.
“Now I’m more Roman than Reggio Emilia, I share the house on Corso Trieste with Luminosa Bogliolo, but I remember the caplét, for sure.”

Then there is Ivory Coast, which you left when you were ten. In how many places do you feel at home?
“Wherever there is a place to sleep. I’m Italian, I’m Ivorian, when I go there they say ‘the Italian has arrived’ and when I’m here ‘the Ivorian has arrived’.”

Do you remember when Didier Drogba took the Ballon d’Or to Bouaké in 2006, in the north where there were rebels?
“Of course, that’s my father Bakary’s city. I also remember when in the midst of a civil war, with my scared relatives, Drogba took the microphone and said, ‘put down the weapons’. In our country, athletes are seen as gods, what they say people listen. We use a currency called franc, we still feel like a former colony, most of the infrastructure has been bought by the Chinese. We have nothing of our own, so we demand back pieces of our past that are in European museums. Italy is my home, Africa nourishes me. In the afrobeats of the Nigerian Burna Boy, I find the drive to run, train, dance. In short, to live.”

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