Alberto Campbell-Staines will represent Jamaica in Athletics in the Men’s T20 400m at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He will be the first Jamaican T20 (Paralympic Classification – Intellectual Disability) to represent Jamaica at a Paralympic Games in any sport.
The 28-year old was born prematurely and resided in an orphanage in Kingston. His parents, Paul and Julie-Anne Staines, first met him at just six years old while teaching at a Salvation Army school in Kingston for children with an impairment. The Australian couple fell in love with Alberto and eventually adopted him at age nine. Five years after the family moved to live in Brisbane, Australia, Alberto received his Australian citizenship.
Campbell-Staines Tokyo Goals
Perhaps not surprisingly, Alberto has a natural gift and passion for running. He’s the current T20 400-metre Australian champion and has a couple of World Championship medals to his name. Campbell-Staines cites Usain Bolt as being one of his idols.
In remaining focused on his dream to secure a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Alberto engaged in training four days a week. Therefore, the news of being omitted from the Australia athletics team by the International Paralympic Committee stung. They needed to reduce the country quota, and Alberto was omitted.
Journey to Represent Jamaica
While absorbing the disappointment, one of the Australian coaches suggested contacting Jamaica about him representing them in the Paralympics. His parents made the request, and they received a favourable response from the Jamaica Paralympic Committee early this year. Alberto will be representing his birth country in the 400-metre track event. This time around, when he dons the green and gold, he will represent Jamaica.
After more than a decade of training, his dream of becoming a Paralympian is here. Jokingly, and with his Tokyo Paralympic Accreditation in hand, Alberto hopes to sing two national anthems on the podium,
Regardless of the country he will represent, Alberto doesn’t believe it will take anything away from his primary motive in life. Campbell-Staines wants to own the track and keep performing well. He wants to focus on his speed and timing and make the most out of the given opportunity.
All of Jamaica will be cheering on our Paralympic team.