Brian Wellman has high expectations of Olympic hopeful Jah-Nhai Perinchief
Brian Wellman has high expectations for Olympic hopeful Jah-Nhai Perinchief.
Not only is the former world indoor world champion confident the 23-year-old can qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, he also believes he can be among the medal contenders on the big stage.
“We are trying to look past just qualifying for the Olympics and to get there and do something, and I think Jah-Nhai is in a good space,” said Wellman, who is also a multiple NCAA outdoor and Olympian in the triple jump.
“There are a few people out there in world triple jump with the potential. You may have maybe one or two guys who are consistent and you know are going to go there and perform. But then everybody else is kind of rolling the dice so I think he has a legitimate shot.
“If he shows up in Tokyo ready to roll, I think he can do well there also and is trending in the right direction.”
Perinchief came within 11 centimetres of the qualifying Olympic standard, which stands at 17.14 metres, on the way to clinching the silver medal in the triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last week.
He jumped 17.03 metres (55ft 10½in) with his first jump in the final to break the previous Tennessee record of 16.94 that had stood for 36 years and eclipse his own personal best of 16.69.
The University of Tennessee graduate student will resume his qualifying bid at the Jamaican National Championships.
The meet will be held from June 24 to 27 at Jamaica’s National Stadium, where Perinchief is confident he can be equal to the task.
“I’m really not far off [Olympic qualifying standard] and I feel like I can hit the standard down there,” he said.
“The reason picked this meet is because it’s a lot more competitive than a lot of other meets I could’ve got in. I know a lot of the athletes down there that I have competed against them for most of my life.
“I feel like it’s going to be a fun experience and is going to fuel me plus my coach [Travis Geopfert] is going to be there.
“Everything has fallen into place for me to do well and I’m confident I can hit the standard and really excited.”
Wellman, who holds the Bermuda triple jump record indoor (17.72 metres) and outdoor (17.62), added: “I think his chances are good. I think this opportunity in Jamaica he will take care of business.
“I just think in the right opportunity, in decent weather with a favourable wind in Jamaica, he will jump the standard.”
Perinchief offered a glimpse of his potential jumping from a full approach for only the second time this year with a leap that exceeded 17.27 that was ruled as a foul at last week in Eugene.
“His third-round jump which was probably far enough to get the standard [Olympic] and win the event, but he had a little foul,” Wellman said.
Perinchief is tied for fifteenth in the world triple jump rankings and bowed out of college athletics as the Southeastern Conference champion and second-ranked nationally.
“My goal was to try to make it on the top ten list at all the schools I attended,” he said.
“I’m on the top ten for high jump at Arkansas, I’m on the top ten for high and triple at Texas Tech and breaking the record here [with Tennessee at the NCAAs] was the icing on the cake for me.”