Former coach hopeful that Campbell will recover

February 12, 2019

For eight years, coach at the Bellefield High school, Dean Tomlin, spent hours during the days helping Jamaican long distance runner Kemoy Campbell hone and perfect his athletic abilities.

Today, he spends hours wondering, hoping and praying that a man he took as his son, will recover fully, after collapsing during a meet in New York.

Campbell was rushed to the hospital on Saturday (February 9) after collapsing during the Millrose Games in the US, while competing in the men’s 3000 metres.

According to coach Tomlin, who has been in contact with the family, Campbell has made little improvement since being hospitalised; blinking only once and squeezing the hand of the doctor.

“When I heard the news, I was at the Western Relays and very busy. I was shocked. I tried calling his phone and I wasn’t getting through. The following day, I got a message from his girlfriend confirming what I had heard,” Tomlin shared.

Tomlin revealed that at the time he made contact with those closest to Campbell, his breathing was being assisted and there was no clear timeline as to when this would change.

“The tests that have so far been done are not showing anything and so they will have to conduct additional tests. I am just here hoping and praying that all will go well. Kemoy was like a son to me. His mother was overseas and his father was on the move, so I took him on as a son years ago…”

Tomlin said he always saw Campbell’s potential on show but the now professional athlete, currently endorsed by Rebook, had no interest in athletics initially.

“I used to see him running to catch a taxi all the time, this was in second form, and it caught my attention. When I approached him about training and running he said it was too hard based on what he saw the other guys doing.”


Tomlin, said he eventually convinced Campbell, after speaking with his father, and subsequently began registering him for 5k runs.

“…His first run was the Digicel 5k where he placed third in his age group, he received a trophy and $500. His second run saw him placing first; he got a trophy and $1,500, which made him even more excited”

The coach said he and Campbell would spend hours on the field training and talking about his future. He said it was during those talks that he truly realised the athlete’s potential.

“When I took him to a 10k in Portmore, he placed third overall as a 15-year-old ,and the following road race he placed first overall and he never stopped winning from there. I remember once at Boys Champs, a coach said no country (rural) man can win Class Two 1500m and that was our motivation.”

The coach said even after Campbell migrated and was attending the South Plains Junior College in the US, he was still coaching him along with the coach he had at the institution.

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