2017 IPC World Disability Games Diary: Jeremy Campbell, having fun and winning, by Stuart Weir


Campbell us.jpgDavid Blair took the silver and Jeremy Campbell took the gold in the discus, photo by Stuart Weir

Jeremy Campbell having fun and winning.

Jeremy Campbell won the F44 Discus throw at the IPC World Athletics Championship with a Championship Record of 63.66 metres with fellow-American, David Blair, second with 62.47. It was Campbell's third consecutive world title. He had also won the discus at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics but in Rio could only manage 56.03 for fourth place.

He said afterwards: "I am pretty excited. I have had a consistent season but nothing big. After Rio went so poorly for me, it is nice leaving this place with a certain feeling of redemption. I was beginning to doubt myself, wondering if the best was really behind me with nothing to look forward to but I think I answered that question for myself as much as for anyone else".

The win also erased a bad memory from his last appearance in London when he broke his throwing leg and had to take effectively a standing throw.

Campbell had his right leg amputated below the knee, aged 1, due to a birth defect. In his sophomore year in High School he was told about a small para sport event and decided to go. "That basically opened the door of opportunity for me to see what para sports were really all about and kinda put it in my head. After graduating in high school, I went to my first national championship and made the national team".

Beijing 2008 represented his coming of age when he came away with two gold medals, a world record and an American record. His second gold medal was in the now discontinued pentathlon and he also contested the long-jump.

He dealt with the Rio disappointment by changing his mindset: "The only thing different since Rio was just to give myself a little more breathing room. Stress levels can tend to get high preparing for competition and I looked in the mirror and asked: 'what is going to give me the best opportunity to perform at my best?' So I did something very unorthodox for me. Instead of pushing harder to make such I had all the Ts crossed and Is dotted, I just backed off to give myself space. That was huge and I enjoyed that, I enjoyed being out here. I enjoyed throwing because something I loved so much had became a chore and I was bored of it. So I said 'something has got to change' and that was a good decision. I backed off and started to have fun again".

Winning a gold medal and having fun. What can be better?

PS NFL fans might like to know that Jeremy's brother, Caleb, had a season with the Detroit Lions.

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