Saturday, February 17, 2018

Phillip out to match Olympic champ Kenny

Watch out Britain, Njisane Phillip is coming.

The Trinidad and Tobago cyclist yesterday threw out a warning to match sprint champion Jason Kenny and his countrymen, who dominated the men's cycling events at the London 2012 Olympics.

But Phillip, who reached as far as the match sprint semi-finals before being defeated by Kenny, is looking forward to future competition to prepare for Rio 2016, where he intends to better his fourth placing.

The Siparia-born cyclist stated that particularly among the British riders, T&T have not been shown respect in the cycling world, and he was happy to earn some of that recognition with his Olympic showing.

"It was more (about) stepping on [Kenny's] shoes," Phillip explained. "I know I couldn't beat him, but it was more a respect thing. For him to just take a step and bow down and show respect was definitely a great feeling."

Phillip also pointed out that the top riders have a big advantage in terms of equipment, with the British cyclists using McLaren bicycles that cost over $1 million, of which a cyclist usually requires two. But still, he is determined to leave his mark on the World stage.

"My coach (Jamie Staff) is from the UK, and I tell him all the time that you guys have no talent, you just have the gas. Once I get the gas, then we can have some fun."

The other athletes at the press conference included T&T's top swimmer George Bovell; shooter Roger Daniel; 4x100m relay sprint team Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Keston Bledman and Emmanuel Callender; and field athletes Cleopatra Borel (shot put) and Ayanna Alexander (long jumper).

Jehue Gordon and Joseanne Lucas (both 400m hurdlers)—the latter did not compete at the Games after picking up an injury—4x400m runner Machel Cedenio and Jamol James; sprinter Rondell Sorrillo; sailor Andrew Lewis; quarter-miler Lalonde Gordon; and Olympic javelin throw gold medalist Keshorn Walcott also made appearances.

Walcott told the media that he is still "trying to cope" with all the attention his winning performance has brought with it, and he is still recovering from the motorcades and celebrations he has been a part of.

"All the individual things that were promised to me, I'm not taking that on much," Walcott said. "So just seeing that the sport will be able to grow and people will be more interested, more youths will be involved, that's good."

Injured sprinters Thompson and Bledman both gave updates on their respective current conditions. Thompson is scheduled for an MRI scan on Monday to determine the extent of his "discomfort" after falling in the 4x100m relay final as he dived across the line.