Sun | Feb 23, 2020

‘Kept in the dark’ - Goule, Praught-Leer express shock of learning of Campbell’s collapse

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:12 AM
Kemoy Campbell (centre) in action in the Men’s 5,000m race on Day Six at the IAAF World Championships in London, England, on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

At the same meet where Kemoy Campbell collapsed and was taken to hospital, Natoya Goule ran her second national record of the season.

But if she had not been kept in the dark about what had happened to her long-time friend, the 27 year old said she is not sure she could have moved the indoor national record in the women’s 800m to 1:59.13 minutes at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday.

“I am not sure I would have been able to compete the way I did if I had seen what happened to him because it was pretty scary. I got so emotional when I saw the video, and I wanted to cry,” Goule toldThe Gleaner. “I wasn’t aware of what was going on because I was in the warm-up area. It was after I finished my race when I was told that Kemoy collapsed. I am not sure if they deliberately kept it from me because they didn’t want it to affect my race, but it was after I ran that someone came up to me and said that Kemoy collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. I was like, ‘What?!’ It was unbelievable.”

Doctors are still trying to determine what caused Campbell’s collapse as he was rabbiting (setting the pace for the other racers) the men’s 3000m race, his agent Ray Flynn said.

Without giving details, Flynn said several tests are being conducted on Campbell at the Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Centre.

Goule, Campbell records

Goule and Campbell have been carrying the mantle for Jamaica’s long-distance running since competing in the Class Three at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

Between them, they owned five of the middle-and long-distance records for the country.

“We came up together running the long distances, and even though we don’t talk on the phone often, we remained friends because whenever we see each other at track meets, we always greet each other. At the World Championships, or other major meets for Jamaica, we would go for our long runs together,” she said.

Aisha Praught-Leer, who joined Goule and Campbell in competing in the long distances for Jamaica, was also at the meet.

“I had just finished competing and was heading for the warm-up area when my husband and coach had come down and said that he collapsed, and I couldn’t believe it,” Praught-Leer recounted.

“I saw him in the lobby of the hotel on the morning of the race, and we greeted each other because we hadn’t seen each other in a long time, so we were talking about our race. It is just really sad.”

Goule said even though what has happened to Campbell is shocking, athletes of their calibre are susceptible to illness like any other human being.

“Even though we show great athletic prowess, people don’t realise that we are still human beings and we can get sick like normal people,” Goule said.

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Warren Blake, who is also a medical doctor, agrees with Goule.

“Of course, even elite athletes can be subject to traumatic events, and it is something that the IAAF is looking at - making regular medical evaluation mandatory,” Blake explained.

“We are hoping that he will recover and that it is not anything too serious.”