Jah-Nhai Perinchief defends decision to abandon last qualifying chance
Jah-Nhai Perinchief says his withdrawal from the Jamaica National Championships last week was the “safe and smart” thing to do under the circumstances.
The 23-year-old travelled to the Caribbean island in the hope of achieving the Olympic qualifying standard in the triple jump, which stood at 17.14 metres.
He jumped 15.99 with his first effort and fouled on his second before deciding to withdraw from the event at the National Stadium owing to a number of factors.
“I decided to pull out of the meet because I wasn’t necessarily feeling the best along with the conditions and everything,” Perinchief explained. “It was raining and stuff during warm-up so we were sitting for a bit and then it got rushed.
“The conditions were not the best and I was just trying to be safe and smart. I’m OK. I’m not hurt or anything; just got to pick your battles correctly.”
Jordan Scott claimed the gold with a jump of 16.50, Perinchief’s former University of Tennessee team-mate Carey McLeod jumped 15.98 to secure the silver and Clayton Brown 15.80 to clinch the bronze and round off the podium.
“I had a good time and it was a good meet,” Perinchief added.
“I’d love to go back when Covid isn’t there because that played a big part, too. There are a whole lot of restrictions down there.”
Last Friday was Perinchief’s final opportunity to qualify outright for the Tokyo Olympics, which begin on July 23, as the qualifying deadline expired on Tuesday.
“It would’ve been nice to go and make it, but I’m young,” he added. “The next one [Paris 2024] I will be 27 and probably in prime shape for that Olympics.”
There was a possibility he could still qualify for the Tokyo 2020 via the world rankings despite not reaching the standard. However, at last check his No 91 ranking was well outside of the top 32 to have made the cut.
“Unfortunately, it’s [rankings] not based on performance because based on performance Jah-Nhai is ranked nineteenth,” Donna Raynor, the Bermuda National Athletics Association president, said. “If they based it on performance, Jah-Nhai is in the top 32.”
Perinchief came within 11 centimetres of the qualifying standard on the way to clinching the silver medal at NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last month.
He jumped 17.03 metres with his first effort n the final to break the previous University of Tennessee record of 16.94 that had stood for 36 years and eclipse his own personal best of 16.69.
Meanwhile, the Southeastern Conference champion is now looking forward to competing at the Bermuda Track and Field Championships at the National Stadium on July 9 and 10.
“I am looking forward to that,” Perinchief said. “I will be jumping in front of the home crowd with a little bit of the conditions being in my favour.”
Perinchief and three-times Olympian Tyrone Smith will be honoured during the second day of the championships.
The pair are among several overseas and elite athletes who will be featured at the meet, which also includes Caitlyn Bobb, Nathan Armstrong, Sanaa Rae Morris, Nirobi Smith-Mills, Sakari Famous, Dage Minors, Suresh Black and Taahira Butterfield.