‘My biggest regret’ - Campbell: At the same time I know I have left a mark on the sport
NEW ROCHELLE, New York:
If Jamaican athlete Kemoy Campbell were to end his career today, he would go down as one of the country’s best ever products in the distance events.
It would be fair to say that his miles have largely been clocked on the back streets, where Jamaican athletics fame is concerned, but five straight national titles, three national outdoor records, two national indoor records, a 2016 Rio Olympics appearance, and him being the first Jamaican male to feature in a distance final at the IAAF World Championships, points to an athlete that has certainly made his mark.
Still, as he continues his recovery following his shocking collapse while competing at the Millrose Games in New York on February 9, Campbell has found himself with more time than usual on his hands. It has given him the opportunity to reflect on what was and what isn’t.
The 28-year-old, who spent more than two weeks in the hospital following the incident and, who now has an Implantable cardioverter defibrillator in his chest to mitigate against a reoccurrence of his heart failure, will not know whether he will be able to resume his professional career until no earlier than late August into September this year.
The doubts and uncertainty pull at his heart, and as he contemplates his future, the Manchester native can’t help but think about the things he was not able to do on the track up to this point.
“The biggest disappointment would be not medalling in one of these events,” Campbell told The Gleaner during an interview on Wednesday in New Rochelle, New York, where he is temporarily based until his recovery and check-ups are completed.
“That was one of the goals that I set out for myself. This was something mentioned a lot of times, that I want to be the first Jamaican to medal for the country in a distance race, so that would be one of the disappointments. At the same time, I know I have left a mark the sport. I think if I can share my experiences with people, it can be a great impact as well,” added Campbell, who sees his recent struggles as an opportunity to engage and encourage others.
PUSHING EVERY DAY
Campbell, who created history when he qualified for the 5000m final at the London 2017 World Championships, says his experience has made him more appreciative and is pushing him every day to become stronger and to make the most of his second chance at life.
“I have got stronger mentally. Yes, there are times when I have had a breakdown, but I think mentally, when it comes to pushing myself to get back up there, I have that drive to get myself back in it as fast as I can. The toughest thing is knowing I’m not going to get there as fast as I want to, but I know I have to be patient. I have family and friends around who I know will help me to get through this process for sure,” added Campbell.
For now, there is no target for his return, no circled date on a calendar, no timeline.
Campbell made it clear that he is in no rush as he has shown on the track throughout his career. He is prepared to go the distance to return to his best in what he hopes will be another push towards achieving the podium target that he so greatly desires.
“When I start training, I don’t play around. You can ask any of my coaches I have worked with. I push myself really hard. If they (doctors) do give me the go-ahead, I will be a little more cautious. I would try to get back around as quickly as I can while being as safe as I can. There are goals that I have set for myself. When the moment comes, I will figure out how to adjust those with what my body can give me,” he shared.