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Phillip climbs sprint rankings

By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Monday, January 23 2012

According to the latest Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rankings, local cyclist Njisane Phillip is currently ranked at number four in the world in the Men’s 200-metre Sprint.

This was released by the UCI in their recent evaluations of the just concluded third Track Cycling World Cup in Beijing, China.

Phillip’s creditable seventh place sprint ride in Beijing saw him earn a crucial 120 points and climb the rankings. The Beacon rider now has an overall sprint tally of 570 points. Currently ahead of him in the sprint category is leader, Robert Forstemann of Germany (724points). Phillip’s closest Pan American Cycling Confederation (COPACI) rivals are Venezuelan Hersony Canelon, who is in fifth spot on 550 points and US rider Jimmy Watkins on 175 points (20th).

The 21-year-old’s consistency on the track has also ranked Trinidad and Tobago (TT) at number 13 in the UCI Olympic Team Sprint Nation Rankings. Venezuela are the only COPACI nation ahead of TT in the Team Sprint Nation Rankings. So this means that TT are presently in runner-up position in the COPACI region.

Meanwhile, Phillip’s road to the Olympics looks a bit more bumpy as only one rider from COPACI may be allowed to qualify instead of two. As it stands, the qualifying teams will be the four maximum from Europe (France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia), two maximum from Asia (China, Japan), one maximum from Oceania (Australia) and one from COPACI (Venezuela) to make up the only eight positions available.

Added to that, the top 10 countries that qualify for the Olympics via the Team Sprint are also allowed an additional cyclist in the Individual Sprints.

This means that there will be a maximum of five from Europe, two maximum from Oceania, two maximum from Asia and one from COPACI (Venezuela).

So, the forthcoming UCI World Cups in London (February 16-19), Pan American Cycling Championships in Mar del Plata, Argentina (April 25 - May 1) and World Championships in Melbourne, Australia (April 4-8) will be key to TT’s qualification for Olympics.

Phillip must now look to get significantly ahead of Venezuela’s Canelon in the Team Nation Rankings to ensure that he is the lone cyclist selected from the COPACI region to compete at the London Games.

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