Dame Flora Duffy, Jah-Nhai Perinchief take top honours at Athlete of the Year awards
Triathlete Dame Flora Duffy won another Female Athlete of the Year award while triple jumper Jah-Nhai Perinchief is a first-time winner of the Male Athlete of the Year for 2021 after an outstanding season overseas.
The pair were recognised for their accomplishments at the 40th Government Sports Awards at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club on Saturday.
This was Duffy’s ninth time winning the award since her first in 2006 with her selection coming as no surprise after her gold-medal success at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, which was the country’s first gold and only second medal since boxer Clarence Hill’s bronze at the 1976 Games in Montreal.
Duffy is in South Africa preparing for the 2022 triathlon season and was unable to attend the awards but in a recorded message shown to the audience she expressed her appreciation for the support she has been receiving back home.
“Certainly it was a massive year and I’m very grateful to all of you who play a major role in allowing me to achieve what I did last year, getting a gold medal in Tokyo,” Duffy said.
“I want to say a big thank you to the Bermuda Olympic Association for their support and allowing me to do my thing. I also want to say thank you to the Bermuda Triathlon Association for years and years of support which started when I first got into the sport and all the way up to going to the Olympics and going for gold.
“Winning last year in Tokyo was definitely the biggest honour of my career and I’m so glad that I could do it for Bermuda.
“I also want to say a special congrats and well done to Jessica Lewis, it’s really cool following her career. I remember tuning in to watch her at the Paralympics and it is really great to see what she is doing in the sport and what she is doing for Bermuda.”
Lewis, who received an Female Achievement award last night along with Duffy, cyclist Caitlyn Conyers, swimmer Madelyn Moore and triathlete Erica Hawley, was the Female Athlete of the Year in 2019, when she ended Duffy’s five-year winning streak.
“In general the sporting community in Bermuda is in a really good place, it’s good to follow what the football teams are doing, and sailing,” added 34-year-old Duffy.
“I just really hope that we keep building on the momentum of this success and have more and more individuals performing on the world stage, whether that is at the World Championships, Olympic Games or the Commonwealth Games coming up.”
“I learnt this week that there will be an annual grant in my name given to an up-and-coming athlete, and that is really incredible. It’s amazing to see the ripple effects of winning the medal in Tokyo, so to leave a legacy like that is something I’m really proud of.
The award was the latest of several honours bestowed on Duffy since winning the gold, including a national holiday in October when the National Stadium was named after the triathlete. Corkscrew Hill was also renamed Flora Duffy Hill.
Perinchief, 24, is the first triple jumper to win the male award since Brian Wellman won five straight Athlete of the Year titles from 1991 to 1996. He won an Achievement Award, along with triathletes Tyler Butterfield and Tyler Smith, cyclist Kaden Hopkins and equestrian Kiwon Waldron.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be in attendance due to the fact that I’m overseas training and preparing for the World Indoor Championships and the rest of my outdoor season,” Perinchief said in a recorded message.
“So far this year it has been interesting, it’s been fun transitioning from college to the pros. I’ve learnt a lot of news things, constantly getting better and constantly working hard.
“I want to thank my support staff who came tonight, my mom and other family members who came and also want to thank the BNAA and BOA staff for supporting and helping me on this journey. Especially Mia Bean and Donna Raynor for assisting me and making sure I can be out here competing to the best of my ability.”
Last year there were limited opportunities to compete because of the Covid-19 pandemic but Perinchief made the most of his chances during his senior year in college. Competing in the prestigious SEC Outdoor Championships, Perinchief had a winning jump of 16.89 metres.
He then leapt to a silver medal with a personal-best jump of 17.03 to cap an outstanding performance on his debut at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which qualified him for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, this year and the CAC Games, which will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador, in 2023.
Sailor Sebastian Kempe and track athlete Caitlyn Bobb were named Junior Male Athlete of the Year and Junior Female Athlete of the Year respectively.
Sport Citation Awards were given to the Bermuda Under-19 2008 World Cup cricket team captained in Malaysia by Rodney Trott and football referees Clinton Hayward, Natasha Trott and Stefan Maybury.
Donna Raynor, the former president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, received a Special Achievement Award along with Heidi Mello in equestrianism and Kaywell Outerbridge in field hockey for their long service to their respective sports.
Appreciation Awards went to BF&M for its sponsorship of cricket and to Charles and Lesley Marshall for the Charles and Lesley Marshall Foundation, which assists football.
Minister’s Awards for the national sports, cricket and football, were presented to Sanaa Berkeley, a 15-year-old female fast bowler, and Delray Rawlins, who plays professionally for English county team Sussex.
In football, Nia Christopher, a national team player, and Peter Silvester, a goalkeeper for Bermuda Under-20 in 2020, were the male and female recipients.
The theme of the Awards was “Resilience, Accomplishment, Success” with sports minister Ernest Peets extending encouragement to the athletes after a difficult two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“My message to the athletes tonight is your journey up to this day, and your journey from this day forward will have its ups and its downs,” he said.
“However, it is your discipline, it is your dedication and your determination that will bring you continued success. The fact that your are here tonight is proof of your hard work and your drive to achieve excellence, and we are all here tonight to recognise your impact that you have made on our sporting community this year.
“As Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, I salute all of our 2022 nominees. Win or lose I extend a huge congratulations to each of you and please know that we will continue to do all that we can to encourage you and support you in your sporting endeavours.”
Athlete of the Year
Male: Jah-Nhai Perinchief (athletics)
Female: Dame Flora Duffy (triathlon)
SeniorMale Achievement Awards
Tyler Butterfield (triathlon)
Kaden Hopkins (cycling)
Jah-Nhai Perinchief (athletics)
Tyler Smith (triathlon)
Kiwon Waldron (equestrian)
Senior Female Achievement Awards
Jessica Lewis (para-athletics)
Dame Flora Duffy (triathlon)
Caitlyn Conyers (cycling)
Madelyn Moore (swimming)
Erica Hawley (triathlon)
Junior Athlete of the Year
Male: Sebastian Kempe (sailing)
Female: Caitlyn Bobb (athletics)
Junior Male Achievement Awards
Sebastian Kempe (sailing)
Cody Rego (equestrian)
Alexander Miller (cycling)
Dominic Sabir (cricket)
Junior Female Achievement Awards
Caitlyn Bobb (athletics)
Erin Cann (martial arts)
Liana Medeiros (cycling)
Isabelle Dutranoit (athletics)
Charles and Lesley Marshall (football)
Special Achievement Awards
Donna Raynor (athletics)
Heidi Mello (equestrian)
Kaywell Outerbridge (field hockey)
Special Recognition Award
Special Olympics Bermuda
Clinton Hayward (football)
Natasha Trott (football)
Stefan Maybury (football)
2008 Bermuda Under-19 cricket team
Cricket: Sanaa Berkeley, Delray Rawlins
Football: Nia Christopher, Peter Silvester