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Phillip impresses in debut Olympic Games

By:
Daniel Benson
Published:
August 07, 2012, 11:53 BST,
Updated:
August 07, 2012, 12:54 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Race:
2012 Olympic Games
Njisane Nicholas Phillip (Trinidad and Tobago) in action in the men's sprint 1/4 finals.

Njisane Nicholas Phillip (Trinidad and Tobago) in action in the men's sprint 1/4 finals.

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Trinidad and Tobago talent 4th in individual sprint

Njisane Nicholas Phillip. Remember that name because in Rio de Janeiro in four year's time the Trinidad and Tobago rider could be a favourite for gold in the men's sprint. The 21-year-old, riding in his first Olympic Games in London, finished fourth this time around but the experience has clearly provided enough enthusiasm and confidence for the future.

"It was hard getting here but the target was 2016 so tell them to watch out in 2016 because I'm coming," he said. Phillip came into London as a relative unknown, despite winning the Pan American Championships earlier this year. And despite a slow qualifying time of 10.202 earlier in the week he battled back to the semi-finals.

Phillip first saw off Edward Dawkins (New Zealand) before beating the experienced Robert Forstemann (Germany) with a brutal turn of speed. The semi-final with Jason Kenny proved a bridge too far, however, and Phillip was eventually pushed out of the medals altogether by Shane Perkins (Australia) in their bronze medal ride-off.

"It's a great stepping stone for me. It shows that the hard work is paying off and I'm getting closer to those guys. It's not a blow out and I'm really happy with that and with fourth place at the Olympics. I'm really happy with it. I didn't get the bronze, and I really wanted that medal, but everything in its time so I'm just sitting back."

Trinidad and Tobago is not among the elite cycling nations and Phillip trains alongside the US camp throughout the year, but with an increased amount of coverage from back home, Phillip is well aware of the effect his Olympics have had.

"You've got Australia, France, Great Britain. These are the biggest cycling nations but just to see that little red flag there... I broke down this morning. It was great.

"Trinidad is now getting back into the sport but I'm just living in the moment and trying to put sport on the map back home. Everyone knows Trinidad from track and field but to come out here for cycling now, it's great to see how the sport has risen up.

"My expectations were to come here and get a 200 metre time but it was a bit off because I got carried away with the wind up. I had to race myself back into it and take it one step at a time. To make it into the bronze medal ride was an amazing achievement."

Phillip lines up in the men's keirin on Tuesday and has progressed to the later stages via the repechage.
 

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