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'Busy' Campbell publishing book on Bolt

BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor - publications davidsonv@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 17, 2014    

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CLIVE 'Busy' Campbell is the kind of man who will regale you with stories... for as long as you are willing to listen. They're mostly about sports — football and cricket in particular because he has spent most of his life either playing or involved in organising competitions in both disciplines.

His newest project, though, involves athletics and, most naturally, includes the world's fastest man and Campbell's fellow Jamaican, Usain Bolt.

What will surprise people who don't know Campbell is that the project — a book about the athletic superstar — is not something from which Campbell expects to earn any money.

In fact, Campbell said he intends to give the book away to schoolchildren.

"In life I don't think about money, power and glory, all I think about is respect," Campbell told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

"Some people want money, some want glory, some want power; I don't want any of that," he reiterated.

But, don't you need money to survive? he was asked.

"How yuh mean survive? You came into this world without anything and yuh going to leave just the same," he responded.

The book, Campbell explained, will be more of a pictorial with his reflections on the athlete whom he first met in 2001.

"He was introduced to me by a gentleman that I respect, Pablo McNeil," Campbell told the Sunday Observer.

He said that in 2010 Bolt gave him permission to publish the book while they were both at the French Embassy in Kingston.

Former Jamaican Bar Association President and Kingston College Old Boy Ian Wilkinson is actually putting the book together, Campbell said, adding that readers will be surprised to see some of the photos, including those of Bolt doing his now famous 'To the world' pose from as far back as 2003.

Campbell had actually veered into the book project in an interview originally scheduled to discuss the fact that he missed being on the same bus that crashed with two of his close friends — Jackie Bell and Dennis Ziadie — in Mexico during the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals.

Both men died from injuries received in that tragic crash.

The story, as Campbell told it, was that he was in England with the West Indies cricket team and had planned to meet Bell and Ziadie in Mexico.

Campbell had got as close as Miami when a friend reminded him that the games were being televised.

"That time Jackie and Dennis and Carl Chang from Western Sports had already gone," Campbell explained.

As fate would have it, Campbell decided against going to Mexico and returned home to Jamaica.

"Right now, whenever I talk about it I get very emotional," he said, his voice quivering.

"I remember I was living in Vineyard Town at the time and a friend of mine came and woke me up early the Sunday morning and told me that Jackie and Dennis crash."

The news, he said, stunned him. He couldn't, didn't want to believe it, so he called another friend and asked if it was true.

That friend checked and called him back with confirmation. "I was in a daze," Campbell said.

Ziadie's son, Nicholas, had a somewhat different experience, as he was but a mere lad at the time.

He and his brother, Chris, he told the Sunday Observer, were at football practice when someone came to get them and gave them the sad news.

Before that, a priest from St George's College had gone to their house and informed their mother.

"We couldn't believe," Ziadie said, adding that it was not until they got home and saw a number of cars parked outside their house that they "realised it must have been true".

Bell, Ziadie and Chang ended up taking the bus after they decided to watch the entire Brazil v France game that went into extra time and penalties, causing them to miss their flight back to the city where they were staying.

"There were three seats left in the bus, two in the front and one in the back. Carl [Chang] said 'listen, you guys are going to want to talk about the game, so you take the two seats together', and he went to the back," Nicholas Ziadie explained.

He said he was informed by a doctor, who was a friend of his father, that the impact of the crash flung his father out of the bus.

Bell, though badly injured, was coherent and asked a motorist to take Ziadie to hospital.

"That is just a testament to their friendship," said Nicholas Ziadie.

Asked what he remembers most about his father, Nicholas said: "He was a good father, a good man. He was a Christian and we were very close. He loved us; never left us out of any kind of event, any sporting event, sometimes Jackie was there as well as Tony Marzouca, he was close to Tony."

He admitted that each June when he marks his birthday and at Christmas are the times he misses his father most.

That sense of loss weighs heavily on Campbell mostly on the anniversary of the men's passing. That, he said, was what triggered his organisation of the now annual Bell/Ziadie Memorial football game, the first of which was held in 1987.

"The game is played on Heroes Day because these two gentlemen are my heroes," Campbell explained.

The event, in which sports celebrities participate to help raise money for charity, also honours former Jamaican football players and administrators.

The success of the Bell/Ziadie Memorial has spawned two other charity football games organised by Campbell -- Bob Marley One Love on Ash Wednesday and Bring Back the Love on Labour Day.

At the time of the interview it was difficult for Campbell to quantify how much he has raised for charity over the years. He recalled, though, that many children's homes and basic schools have benefited.

Campbell said that his greatest disappointment in relation to the event, though, is the year when he secured an agreement for Argentina football great Maradona to participate, only for the plan to sabotaged by individuals here.

"People called his manager and told him to tell Maradona not to come because it is not good to come to Jamaica," Campbell told the Sunday Observer.

Why?

"Because I was not in agreement with some of the things happening in football here," Campbell replied, adding that he still has the airline tickets booked in the footballing genius' name to prove his story.

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