Carifta doubts hang over pair
The Bermuda National Athletics Association [BNAA] is awaiting confirmation that college pair Jah-Nhai Perinchief and Kyrah Scraders will be available to compete in their final Carifta Games in Grenada in March.
Perinchief and Scraders, who won silver [800 metres] and bronze  in St Kitts last year in her first competition in the under-20s, are considered two of Bermuda's best medal hopes for the March 25 to 28 games.
Both are freshmen at Iowa Community College, whose outdoor season starts that weekend with the Grand View Open in Des Moines, Iowa, on the Thursday and the Arkansas Spring Meet on the Friday and Saturday.
“Whether they [Perinchief and Scraders] are going to be able to compete at Carifta is another thing,” Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, said.
“It's not a championship meet so Troy Douglas [the BNAA coach] is trying to have a conversation with the athletes and their college coaches.
“These athletes are on scholarships and coaches look at things differently, so I couldn't say one way or the other.
“We just have to approach them and find out whether it's possible as this will be his and Kyrah's last year.
“It would be sad if they can't compete in their last year, but that happened to Kyle Webb and Bruce DeGrilla last year because their coaches wouldn't release them.
“In our day coaches used to be excited for their athletes to compete in Carifta. It would be a feather in their cap if one of their athletes go to Carifta and wins a medal, but things are different now.”
After last Saturday's meet was rained out, the qualification for Carifta begins in on Saturday when the flyers Track Club host a meet at the National Stadium.
Five meets will be held before the March 5 final Carifta trial.
The BNAA have identified about 21 athletes for Carifta and held a meeting last week with those still on the Island to outline the qualifying standards.
In attendance were triathlete Tyler Smith and Ashley Irby who has already represented Bermuda at the Carifta Swimming Championships.
Neither have competed at the Carifta Games, which now requires athletes to be a minimum age of 14 in order to compete.
“We had an initial meeting last Wednesday with the possible athletes and their parents and have 21 on the list,” Raynor said. “We outlined the qualification standards, our expectations that they participate in the track meets and now the ball is in their court.
“I'm pretty hopeful that some of the athletes we have on that list will reach the standards. We've got Suresh Black who has been living and competing in Barbados and he's been running exceptionally well over the last year.
“He's a sprinter, 100 and 200 [metres] and it has been a joke between us and Barbados as to who he is going to represent. His dad told him he would be representing Bermuda where he was born.
“He broke several of Barbados records at their championships last year so we're really looking forward to having him as part of our team. This is his first year of eligibility for Carifta.”
Raynor is keeping her fingers crossed both Smith and Irby, two middle-distance talents, will be interested in qualifying for Carifta.
Another talented middle-distance runner, Selah Tuzo, at 13, had narrowly missed the minimum age requirement and will have to wait another year for her debut.
“When we took Kyrah in her first year she was 12,” Raynor said. “We [the Carifta countries] had a meeting after last year's competition and everybody agreed that was too young, that we wanted to be in line with what the IAAF have for their age groups, so now we're saying you have to be 14.
“If they are exceptional, then it's a good thing but if not we could lose them to the sport and that's how we looked at it. Are you going to put somebody who is 12 or 13 up against a 17-year-old?”
Last year Bermuda's 12-member team won three medals, with Sakari Famous winning the bronze in the girls' under-18 high jump. Famous is also in line to qualify for Carifta.