Bermuda National Track and Field Championships to make up for Carifta disappointment
The hard work that was put in by the Bermuda National Athletics Association to prepare for the Carifta Games will now go towards making the Bermuda National Track and Field Championships a special one, featuring elite athletes and overseas competitors.
The decision was made recently by NACAC to cancel the Carifta Games for a second straight year, leaving the BNAA to reflect on two years of hard work as they prepared to host a Games that never happened. However, that work will go to good use, with the association planning to use the theme “Carifta 2020: Our Vision” for the second day of the National Championships, which will run on July 9 and 10.
Two elite athletes, triple jumper Jah-Nhai Perinchief and Tyrone Smith, a record holder in long jump, will be honoured during the second day of the National Championships.
“There will be three components to this year’s Championships,” Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, revealed yesterday.
“Friday evening will focus on our young athletes, aged under-10, under-12 and under-15, consisting of all athletic and track events. During this event, we will have an open one -mile event for all the youth age groups.
“The second component is the "Carifta 2020: Our Vision" theme for Saturday’s competition. After all of the hours of planning and organising, the local organising committee believed it would be remiss of us to not display some of the efforts of the committee and the athletes who have been preparing over the past two years.”
Bermuda are not likely to be hosting the Carifta Games in the near future, after the Covid-19 pandemic caused the Games to be cancelled for the first time in its history last year.
Bermuda was given a second opportunity to host the Games for a fifth time in August, after previously hosting it in 1975, 1980, 2004 and 2012, but that fell through , too, with a second cancellation. Next year the Games will be held in Guyana on the 50th anniversary of Carifta, with 1972 in Barbados being the first year of the junior competition.
“We were looking forward to hosting one of the best Carifta events ever and cannot put into words our disappointment,” Raynor said, referring to the recent cancellation.
“In lieu of this, we have decided to put together, in pictures and videos, a story to share with all of Bermuda, our journey in preparing for the Games.
“We will be having a small ceremony honouring our sponsors, past Carifta athletes, our volunteers, officials and athletes in the Carifta uniforms, providing a visual of what the Carifta Games would have looked like with all of the marketing paraphernalia decorating the National Sports Centre.
“We will also be opening the track as this will be the first track meet we have had since the laying of the new track. We will be following Covid-19 protocols.”
Raynor added: “The National Championships is required to be held annually by the International Federation World Athletics, the governing body for athletics in Bermuda. As we are aware, last year we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, therefore most countries were given a bye.
“This event will begin with a baton relay consisting of past Carifta athletes beginning at Stevedoring Services, on Front Street and finishing at the National Sports Centre with former Olympian and Carifta athlete, Brian Wellman. They will then be presented with a commemorative Carifta medal.”
Last year Wellman had the long jump pit named after him, and this will be the first major event on the track since that honour was bestowed upon him.
“We will also be honouring two of our elite athletes; Jah-Nhai Perinchief who placed second in the 2021 NCAA Athletic Championships in the triple jump and Tyrone Smith, Bermuda’s current National record holder in the long jump, who has represented Bermuda for several years in various international events, including three Olympic Games,” Raynor revealed. “He will be retiring from the sport this year.
“Both of these athletes are aiming to reach the qualifying standards to represent Bermuda at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and will be competing in our local Championships.
“We will also be honouring our sponsors by presenting them with commemorative Carifta medals. The LOC contributed two years of intense preparation for these Games and they will also be presented with commemorative medals for all of their hard work and will receive their Carifta uniforms.”
The weekend will culminate on the Saturday with the final component, the Senior National Championships Under-17, Under-20 and Open Divisions, beginning at 6pm.
“We are excited that several of our overseas and elite athletes will be featured at the meet, Jah-Nhai Perinchief, Tyrone Smith, Caitlyn Bobb, Nathan Armstrong, Sanaa Rae Morris, Nirobi Smith-Mills, Sakari Famous, Dage Minors, Suresh Black, Taahira Butterfield, plus several of our local athletes,” Raynor revealed.
“We will be featuring several of our well-known road racers in the distance events, and Lamont Marshall competing in the steeplechase. We will also be inviting 20 overseas athletes to compete with the aim of enhancing the level of competition for our elite athletes. We will advise as we confirm athletes.
“This has been a difficult year and a half for our country and our hope is to close out our track and field season with a memorable event. We hope that you will come out and support this event.”