Jah-Nhai Perinchief sets the standard at Nationals
Jah-Nhai Perinchief had the best triple jump leap on local soil while another elite athlete, Caitlyn Bobb, claimed two sprint victories during the Bermuda Track and Field Championships at the National Sports Centre on Saturday.
Perinchief, the lone competitor in the triple jump after former college team-mate LaQuarn Nairn decided not to double up in both the long jump and triple jump, set an on-island best leap with his jump of 16.79 metres, before extending the mark to 16.94 in his final jump, which might have been even longer.
“My hand caught the sand and when they measured the spot where I landed it was 17.20,” Perinchief explained. He was not aware that it was the longest jump on local soil until former triple jumper Brian Wellman mentioned it.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know that,” he admitted. “I have never competed on this runway in terms of at a high level.
“I went to CedarBridge and did inter-school sports here, but high jump was my main thing, so this was a little new. The new track feels amazing, so hopefully we can get some bigger names to come next time.
“They had some but they had different plans, but hopefully next year we can get some big-name people to come and compete and give Bermuda a show they haven’t really seen. I like competition, and I like the fans!”
Bobb, competing in her first national championships, finished with two victories, in the under-20 200 and 400 metres, in times of 24.64 and 53.64 respectively.
The 400 metres time was PB for Bobb, no doubt helped by competing in the same race as open competitor, Margaret Barrie, of Sierra Leone, who clocked a winning time of 53.23. Bobb’s previous best was 53.79.
“I really enjoyed it, I wish I had more time here,” said Bobb, the daughter of former Bermuda sprinter Dawnette Douglas.
“It was nice running on the track, it was real ‘squishy’. People say it is not a fast track, but I think it is pretty fast.”
Bobb competed for Bermuda at the 2019 Carifta Games when she won a couple of medals. On Saturday she finished ahead of Carifta team-mate Sanaa Re Morris in the 400 metres, with Morris limping across the finish line behind Bobb and Barrie after suffering a hamstring injury in the final 100 metres.
Barrie was happy with her wins in the 100 metres, where she beat Taahira Butterfield, and then in the 400 where Bobb, seven years her junior, pushed her to the end.
“It was a good meet, I really love Bermuda, the people are so nice and I’m so excited to be here,” said the 25-year-old of her first visit here. “It was a great experience.”
Barrie is heading off to Tokyo to represent her country at the Olympics this month. “I train in the United States and represent Sierra Leone on the international stage,” said Barrie, who is based in Lexington, Kentucky.
“The goal today was for it to be more like a training session, trying to work on my form, technique and have fun. I’m running the 100 metres at the Olympics.”
Bahamian Nairn won the long jump with a best leap of 7.79, with Tyrone Smith second (7.63) and Damar Forbes, of Jamaica, third (7.52). it was Nairn’s first time in Bermuda in almost ten years.
“It’s so good to be back in Bermuda, I came here in 2012 for Carifta and got my first international medal here [bronze in the high jump],” he said.
“The environment is just one of the best in the world. I love how organised the meet was and how the crowd was engaging in the event. I want to come back very, very soon.”
Nairn was a room-mate of Perinchief’s at the University of Arkansas. “We were room-mates for 2½ years and since 2012 we’ve been friends,” said Nairn, who was supposed to jump against Perinchief in the triple jump.
“He didn’t want me to jump because I just came from the long jump,” Nairn explained. “He said ‘you don’t have to jump’, and I said ‘OK’.
“I’m done with school, I graduated last year and working on some stuff so that I can get a contract to stay in America and train. It should work out.”
Local athletes turned in some good performances in the championships, with Zenji Washington winning both the under-17 girls 100 and 200 metres against Arima Turner and Jahstice Grant.
Dage Minors was a comfortable winner in the open 800 and 5,000 metres races, clocking a time of 15min 23.62sec in the latter to finish ahead of Seamus Fearon and Sean Trott.
Suresh Black won both the open 100 and 200 metres races, and also took the 800 metres in 1:54.20. Nirobi Smith-Mills won the under-20 800 metres and Nathan Armstrong the under-20 1,500 metres ahead of Nick Pilgrim.
Jake Brislane won the under-17 1,500 metres race in 4:20.06, with J’Auza James second in 4:46.00. James had a personal best in the high jump with his leap of 1.73 metres beating his old mark of 1.63.
“It’s a new beginning for me, coming back off not having track for two years, it’s a good start back into high jump,” said James, a student at Berkeley.
“I learnt from today’s mistakes and when I come back to training and start to develop more, it’s going to be better for me from here on.
“My goal was to try for 1.80 today but I had to settle for 1.73 as it got tough to jump after not having jumped for two years.
“I was supposed to come to Carifta this year and compete for the heptathlon but due to Covid it slowed us down and now we’ve got to wait until next year to compete.”
“By the end of this year I should be doing 1.75, 1.80s. With coach [Rohaan] Simons the sky’s the limit. He keeps the track calm and keeps your nerves down.”