Friday, December 15, 2017

Alexander in, Njisane out for 'Worlds'

Quincy Alexander will be the only rider representing Trinidad and Tobago at the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne, Australia next month, after Njisane Phillip pulled out of the event.

Phillip, who is in the midst of Olympic qualifying in the match sprint and keirin events, has asked the T&T Cycling Federation (TTCF) that he not be considered for "Worlds" as he recovers from a spill during the Pan American Championships in Argentina last week. X-rays in Argentina cleared him of major injury.

The Los Angeles-based rider, who won the match sprint at the Pan Am Championships, is expected to return to T&T tomorrow. He is on the verge of qualifying for the match sprint at the 2012 London Olympic Games, but still requires team sprint points to qualify for the keirin event.

Alexander's appearance at "Worlds", as well as his participation in three events—sprint, keirin and kilometre time trial—will also add valuable points towards Phillip's qualification as a T&T cyclist.

Alexander is also eligible for the World Championships, having secured Pan Am gold in the kilometre time trial event.

At a TTCF press conference at the Ministry of Sport's Abercromby Street, Port of Spain headquarters, Federation president Rowena Williams disclosed that Phillip has also had positive results from his doctor in the United States.

Phillip has also been confirmed by the UCI as the top sprinter in COPACI (Pan American) region, ahead of Venezuelan Hersony Canelon, and is ranked number two after consistent performances in Olympic qualifying events.

T&T (796 points) are currently ranked the top sprint team in COPACI thanks to Phillip's performances in qualifying, with Venezuela (793) second. But in the keirin T&T are fourth, with three spots available at the Olympics.

"It's important that Trinidad and Tobago continues to get points in the Worlds to secure our place in the keirin (event)," said TTCF public relations officer Richard Jiminez yesterday. "Then we'll have representation in the sprint and the keirin. I'm sure (Quincy) is not going to (just) make up numbers. And the better Quincy does…that's more points for us."

The TTCF has also confirmed the Ministry of Sport will be footing the $99,633.10 bill for the trip to Australia.

Robert Farrier, Alexander's uncle and manager, is pleased with how the rider is developing, having made his senior international debut for T&T at the Pan Am Championships.

"(Quincy's performance is) not a surprise to us in any way, because we expected him to do well," Farrier explained. "What we do is create an opportunity, and the opportunity really led to great success.

"In terms of the World Championships, we are very proud that he will be representing T&T. He's an athlete that is really focused, and always likes to make his people proud. Whenever he goes out and wears the red, white and black, he gives more than 100 per cent."

Farrier said because of a lack of international-standard facilities, Alexander has had challenges in training which also affected him in Argentina. Still, he has faith in Alexander's ability to adapt in Australia.

"(During the Pan Am Championships) he was lying on the ground after his first ride, and had to get up and physically go to his hotel room, wake up in less than 12 hours and ride a kilometre time trial.

"That's the kind of (determined) individual he is," Farrier stressed. "He believes in God, he puts a lot of faith in God and loves to represent his country. So we are really proud to be going out in Australia."