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Compete at your own risk - Campbell warns athletes against competing in COVID-19 crisis

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2020 | 12:19 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

With athletics moving forward through a return to competitive meets, former national long-distance runner Kemoy Campbell has warned athletes about competing during the current health crisis.

Campbell, who was speaking during a recent Gleaner Sports Instagram Live interview on Thursday, also shared that if he was still competing, he would have strong reservations about stepping on the track during the current climate.

The coronavirus pandemic halted sports across the globe primarily in March, but live sports is gradually resuming with strict health protocols.

Athletics has moved forward with plans to restart the Diamond League season, but made further changes to the schedule on June 26 with the cancellations of the Meeting de Paris in France and the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, USA. The changes are as a result of the restrictions that have been enforced regarding events and gatherings in both locations.


“There are lot of complications when you do get COVID-19, from what I have been reading. I would say a similar thing happened to me before my incident. I kind of got sick from the flu and then this happened,” said Campbell, who retired in 2019 from complications resulting from a cardiac arrest suffered at last year’s Millrose Games.

“I think, for them (athletes), they have to be extremely careful, because this is something that they do not want to play around with.”

With athletes needing to travel to compete in meets globally, health officials have advised against this until a vaccine can be developed. While Campbell said that he would personally wait on a vaccine before competing, he says that athletes must make a decision in their best interest.

“We don’t know how long this thing is going to be around. Athletes have got to be careful and take themselves into account. You can always compete, [but] you can’t always compete if you are in the hospital from COVID-19, so you have to think about that,” Campbell said. “I know money [lack of earnings from meet cancellations] is an issue, but at the same time, you just got to look out for yourself.”