Bermuda quartet aiming to sign off in style at Commonwealth Games
Bermuda cyclists Kaden Hopkins, Conor White and Nicholas Narraway and triple jumper Jah-Nhai Perinchief will be aiming to sign off from the Commonwealth Games on a high on the final day of competition tomorrow.
With Caitlin Conyers remaining a major doubt for the women’s road race through illness, having been forced to miss the time-trial on Thursday, the male contingent will be aiming to build on the momentum of memorable outings, when they join forces and take to the start line of the 160km course in St Nicholas’ Park, Warwick.
Hopkins, who had his moment in the spotlight having led the 37.4-kilometre time-trial through the first wave of riders, was eleventh, with White, who went out in the second wave of riders, finishing closely behind for fifteenth and Narraway 26th.
Despite being fully aware of the task in hand against the bigger nations comprised of Olympic and world champions, as well Tour de France and World Tour competitors, the Bermuda team are aiming to throw a spanner in the works and make their presence felt once again.
“It is going to be a really strong field and it is not really a course that is easy to make a difference on because it is so flat,” Hopkins said.
“The bigger riders and teams will try and control the race for sure but we are going to go out there, give it everything we have and see if we can throw a stick into the works.”
Meanwhile, Perinchief is determined to put on a show inside the Alexandra Stadium is he aims to make his mark by challenging for honours.
Despite not enjoying the most ideal preparation for the Games after failing to qualify for the final at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last month, finishing 22nd overall with a leap of 16.38 metres, the 24-year-old’s confidence has seemingly not been affected in the slightest.
“In terms of hopes and expectations I’ll always say I’m shooting for first place but one of my main aims is to shoot for the Commonwealth Games record of 17.86,” he said. “I know my personal record is only 17.05 but anything can happen and I always feel I can execute when I need to.
“People have told me I can jump that distance so why not do it here! I feel like if I do that it would be good enough for gold and the record.
“My coaches are confident in me and to also have Brian Wellman [former world indoor champion and national record-holder of 17.72] here, a Bermudian triple-jump guru who has competed all over the world, give me great confidence, I’m ready to go.
“I’m not in a shock that I’m here or nervous. I’m feeling relaxed which is always a good thing.”
Although he is making his debut at the Games, Perinchief is far from overawed by the prospect of competing in front of a full stadium.
“The crowds do not really faze me,” he added. “I’m coming into this on the back of the World Championships and I was more shocked by the level of competition there rather than the crowd.
“I want to have fun with it. It’s a big crowd who seem like track fanatics and support everyone so hopefully I’ll get some of that support and fuel me to jump farther so I can put on a show.
“Doing World Championships, and even looking back at my Youth Olympic days this isn’t really anything new. I’ve always competed in front of a crowd so that does not really faze me.”
While fully focused on preparing to impress within his own discipline, Perinchief took the opportunity to reflect on the significance of being part of the 17-member Bermuda squad.
“It’s definitely special to be part of a big team and it’s great to see Bermuda send a big team to an event like this,” he said. “I hope as the years go on we get more and more people qualify in all different sports because we have a lot talent.
“It definitely means a lot to me. Especially being on a team with some amazing people who have done really well and obviously we’ve had Flora winning another gold.
“Everybody has gone out and performed well and that is definitely special. Hopefully we can make it even more special with myself and the cyclists.”