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Elite pair handed cash boost

Photograph by Blaire SimmonsShow of support: Houston, the Bermuda sprinter, receives a cheque for $4,000 from Brown, of Bermuda Healthcare Services, as Raynor, the Bermuda National Athletics Association president, looks on at the Paget-based medical facility

Tre Houston and Tyrone Smith have landed a sponsorship boost after receiving funding from Bermuda Healthcare Services.

Houston, a 100 and 200 metres sprinter, and long jumper Smith have each been given $4,000 by the Paget-based medical centre to help with their preparations for the upcoming season. Both Houston, 26, and Smith, 32, represented Bermuda at last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Since 2012, it has been the pleasure of Bermuda Healthcare Services to present annual sponsorships to at least two, and at some times three, of our major athletes so that they can continue in their preparation for either the Olympics, World Championships or whatever is on their agenda to bring honour onto themselves and to Bermuda,” said Dr Ewart Brown, the company founder and executive chairman.

Houston made his Olympic debut in Rio in the 200, where he finished sixth in his qualifying heat.

“Tre has, of course, competed in Rio and he is still determined that he can run faster and we are going to support him in that effort,” Dr Brown said.

“We are just honoured that this young man is dedicated to track and we are determined to support him as much as we can.”

Houston, who recently had unsuccessful tryouts with NFL teams Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets, thanked BHS for “believing in me”.

“First and foremost I want to want to thank Dr Brown and Bermuda Healthcare Services for believing in me again,” Houston said.

“They have given me a donation to help prep me for this upcoming season and I promise to put my best foot forward as I always do. I’m looking to do big things this year.”

Smith, Bermuda’s flag bearer in Rio, finished sixteenth in the long jump in his final Olympic appearance.

“We have also decided to renew the sponsorship for Tyrone Smith,” Dr Brown said.

“Tyrone will receive also an award of $4,000 from Bermuda Healthcare Services to assist him in his preparation for his upcoming championship meets.”

In a written statement read by Donna Raynor, the Bermuda National Athletics Association president, Smith said:

“After every Olympic year we athletes usually lose sponsors, so it fills my heart with joy and appreciation to once again receive this sponsorship. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Sponsorship grants are awarded to elite athletes based on the level of commitment to their respective sport.

“We want the athlete to show us that we are not just sponsoring a lifestyle other than the lifestyle dedicated to athletic excellence,” Dr Brown said.

As well as renewing their commitment to sponsoring individual athletes, Bermuda Healthcare Services also confirmed that they will sponsor one of the events at the second annual Bermuda Invitational Permit Meet in July, featuring Houston and Smith, to the sum of $5,000.

“Bermuda Healthcare Services will sponsor my favourite race, the 400 metres,” Dr Brown said. The international track meet will be held July 1 at the National Stadium.

Last year’s inaugural Bermuda Invitational Permit Meet featured 76 overseas athletes, among them Olympic medal winners and world and junior world champions, as well as some of Bermuda’s elite athletes.

n Jah-Nhai Perinchief soared to new heights for Iowa Central Community College at the Hawkeye Invitational at the University of Iowa.

The 19-year-old recorded an indoor personal best leap of 15.55 metres en route to victory in the triple jump and finished third in the long jump after posting 7.35 despite carrying a hip injury. Both distances qualified Perinchief for the Junior College Indoor National Championships at Pittsburgh State in March. Perinchief and his Iowa Central Community College teammates are the defending Junior College Indoor National Champions.

“I’m injured so I really just wanted to get my qualifying marks for nationals and be done,” said Perinchief, who represented Bermuda at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.

“In long jump it took more than expected because I only had two legal jumps, which surprised me because I thought I was hitting the board every time.

“Triple jump was a better outcome. I got a personal best by one centimetre for indoor but my coach could tell I was being passive during my jumps. I ended up with a number four ranking in long jump and number one in triple jump for the NJCAA.”