|Phillip earns Olympic points |
By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Tuesday, November 8 2011
Njisane Phillip pedalled to a creditable eighth place in the finals of the Men’s 200metre Sprint at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan, early Saturday morning.
Phillip’s time has also earned him precious Olympic points.
Riding to victory in the Men’s 200m event was four-time Olympic champion, Chris Hoy of Great Britain. Taking the runner-up position was Denis Dmitriev (Russia), Australian Shane Perkins was third and coming in fourth was German Robert Forsterman.
Phillip’s historic eighth place finish saw him emerge the only Pan American rider to achieve a spot in the top 25 competitors. He also conquered various other top riders such as the world renowned Rene Enders of Germany.
In the qualifiers, the Beacon rider finished with the 11th fastest time among the 53 competing riders. Phillip’s time was 10.118 seconds (1st lap 4.961 2nd lap 5.157).
Manager, Maharaj was pleased with the result but admitted that the international competition was really challenging.
“At this level qualifying is so tough but Njisane did it and was able to pull off the surprise. This was also possible by the amazing and well executed instructions from coach, Jamie Staff,” stated Maharaj.
Phillip’s manager declared that the cyclist was satisfied with his World Cup performance. He explained that this may have been the first time ever, that a local rider has set the competitive bar so high.
“He is happy. Again, making the qualifiers and doing what he did to the German (Enders) is a major accomplishment. This is the first for any Trinidadian,” added Maharaj.
Maharaj explained that the top finishers were more seasoned cyclists than Phillip. If one looks at the age difference of cyclists at the meet, Phillip was one of the youngest finishers overall. All other riders were professionals in their much higher age category. Maharaj credited the German and English riders for their consistency, but admitted that Phillip was a force to be reckoned with.
He explained why the other cyclists had a competitive advantage, “More experience (riders), did not have to sleep at the airport (Phillip).
Lots more strength, muscle mass and again, experience at this level. If Njisane maintains the current programme, he will be on the podium within a year.
Njisane surprised many people and has come a very long way since being under the new programme,” added Maharaj.
Phillip’s manager revealed that all focus will now be directed toward the Cali World Cup in Colombia, two weeks from now. He concluded, “Hopefully all works out with travel and better planning.”