Jah-Nhai Perinchief aims to leap into Olympic conversation
Jah-Nhai Perinchief says he is thrilled to have been crowned conference champion in an event he hopes to represent Bermuda at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The University of Tennessee senior won the men’s triple jump at the Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships in Byron-College Station, Texas at the weekend with a wind-assisted best leap of 16.89 metres (55ft 5in)
“It felt good,” Perinchief told The Royal Gazette of his victory. “I like to compete and there were a lot of good competitors. Being able to compete with them made it more exciting.
“I am grateful to be a champion, but still have more work to do. I am really thankful to finish a meet healthy for the first time in a couple of years.”
Alabama’s Christian Edwards claimed the silver with a leap of 16.51, while Laquan Nairn, of Arkansas, secured the bronze with 16.40 to round off the podium at Texas A&M’s EB Cushing Stadium.
Perinchief, the first athlete from his college to win the title in 34 years, attributed his success to the coaching he is receiving at the University of Tennessee from Travis Geopfert, and fellow Bermudian Brian Wellman, the two-times Olympian and former indoor world champion.
“I have a great coach here at Tennessee,” he added. “He individualised my training and strengths and weaknesses in addition to just making everything as simple as possible.
“In addition, having a great mentor in Brian Wellman who was amazing in the event for us as well has played a huge part, just giving me tips and little things I can fix in my triple jump.
“All in all, me listening to my coach and executing the ‘smaller details’, as coach Geopfert would say, has been the key. But there is more to come.
“The training staff as well have been really good in listening and working with me through any sort of niggles and things like that.”
Perinchief refused to burden himself with expectations heading into the triple jump event.
“I really did not have any expectations and usually don’t try and limit myself with numbers and things like that,” he said. “I just go and try to execute my jumps and listen to my coach and compete and let everything else fall into place.”
Perinchief’s crowning moment arrived 24 hours after failing to record a legal jump in the long jump.
He did not take part in the high jump, his primary event.
Asked if he’s no longer competing in high jump, Perinchief said: “We will see; not 100 per cent sure on that yet.”
The 23-year-old athlete resumed training yesterday as he shifts his attention to the East Preliminary Championships where he hopes to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“Next up is regional which is the qualification into nationals,” Perinchief said. “All the teams in the eastern region of the NCAA compete and they take the best 12. ”Hoping to go get a good one in and go all-out at nationals in Eugene, Oregon [from June 9 to 12].”
The East Preliminary Championships will be hosted by the University of North Florida and the Jacksonville Sports Council from May 26 to 29.
Perinchief also has his sights of Olympic qualification where he hopes to follow in Wellman’s footsteps.
“I’m not exactly sure how many [qualifying] meets I have,” he added. “But whatever they are, I’m going to always look for a chance to qualify.”
The Olympic qualifying standard for the men’s triple jump stands at 17.14 metres.