BRUCE, Miss. (WJTV) – In early April 2022, a Bruce High School powerlifter was in danger of being disqualified from the state championship because of her hair.
MHSAA Head Director Rickey Neaves told a WCBI reporter on Tuesday, April 19 that the rule banning beads is being revised and will be removed for the upcoming season.
However, it was very real for Bruce’s Diamond Campbell during this past state championship, but she overcame the obstacle with help from an unlikely source.
“I was a little angry. I was shame a little bit, kind of, I kind of feel humiliated like I was being picked on in a way,” said Campbell.
“The head judge came up and she said, ‘She can’t wear the beads,’ and they were like, ‘You got to take them out, you can’t lift, they’re gonna disqualify you, they’re taking your first lift away,'” she continued.
Campbell said her teammates and coaches worked frantically to try and get the beads out in time. What happened next was one of those rare moments in sports that transcends the competition itself.
“Before I knew it, I had like eight different girls in my head, and they were all taking them out,” said Campbell.
Girls from schools Diamond was competing against, including Jorja Roberson from East Union, gathered around her to help take the beads out in time for her next lift.
“We were just trying to give her an opportunity to still compete because it’s not fair to her for to not have that opportunity because of something so small,” said Roberson.
The rule preventing lifters from wearing certain types of head gear has been in place for years, but the itemized list is a new amendment that was just added.
Campbell said she believes the rule unfairly singles out African Americans. She said the actions of her fellow competitors lifted her mentally and emotionally.
“They could have easily just you know, let me sit there and have to do it by myself and probably miss my next lift because there were a lot of beads. But they put everything aside, and they helped me,” stated Campbell.
Campbell would go on to record a personal best in the dead lift and finish fourth in her weight class.