Jamaican paralympian to know fate today
LONDON, England — Javon Campbell's future as a Paralympic athlete hangs in the balance and could be decided later this evening when he undergoes further tests here in London by a team of International Paralympic Council (IPC) approved doctors.
The former Kingston College (KC) and St George's College (STGC) athlete who will attend the University of the West Indies (UWI) in September is part of the Jamaica Paralympic Association's delegation here and is hoping he will be allowed to compete.
"Yes, I am anxious and a bit nervous as I want to compete and if it does not go my way, I will not be able to compete, but I have to be positive," he told the Jamaica Observer as the team prepared to depart their pre-competition camp at the University of Bedfordshire on Wednesday for London.
Campbell, who was a semi-finalist in the Boys Class One 100m at the ISSA Boys' Champs in March, has no use of his left hand from the elbow down after an accident with an electrical cord in a fish bowl before he was a year old, and his disability is obvious to the naked eye.
Each Paralympic athletes has to be 'licensed' by the IPC after a series of tests carried out to ascertain their level of disability to place them in categories with the letters 'F' denoting field event athletes and 'T' for track athletes.
Campbell, who competed in the US Trials in Indianapolis in June to get a second qualifying time at a recognised meet, was however, told he was "too strong" for his T46 classification.
The Christopher Samuda-led JPA, however, filed an immediate protest and prepared an extensive dossier to be presented at this evening's test which will have Jamaican physician Dr Rory Dixon present.
The tests includes the doctors examining the body structure of the youngster and comparing both sides of his body, right and left, as well as the range of motion in his hands, arms and wrists.
The IPC tests the strength of the upper body from the shoulders up and ironically, it was Campbell's efforts to help him compete against able-bodied athletes that may have worked against him.
With no events for the disabled in Jamaica, Campbell was forced to compete against able-bodied athletes his age and as a youngster competing for both KC and St George's, would do extra upper body work to make up for his limp left hand.
"I really want to run, I deserve to run," Campbell told the Observer.
Despite knowing his chances to compete was slim, as in addition to his test, the Jamaican team only had an allotment of three spaces in the Games, Campbell was still working hard during training sessions.
"Hard work does not go unnoticed and I'm hoping this is not my last hurrah as a Paralympic athlete. I'm just praying that something special will happen for me," he told the Observer.
Meanwhile, Jamaica will be officially welcomed in the Athletes Village in Stratford, east London later tonight with the flag raising ceremony set for 7:00 pm UK time (1:00pm Jamaican time) in the international zone.
The three-member Jamaican team arrived on Wednesday from their two-week training camp at the University of Bedfordshire with high hopes of doing well at the Games that open on August 29 with an Opening Ceremony at Olympic Stadium.
Two men, team captain Tanto Campbell and Alphanso Campbell, and one female, Sylvia Grant, will represent the country at the 14th staging of the championships.
Team officials are expecting a good showing from the Jamaicans who bow into action a week after the start of the Games.