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21-year-old Phillip ready for battle with Kenny in men's sprint
The world may have tuned into the 100m final on the running track at the London Olympics, where Trinidad and Tobago finished seventh with Richard Thompson but the tiny island nation has little cycling history, especially at the Olympics Games. Today however, spectators will watch as the young Trinidad and Tobago sprinter goes up against Great Britain's Jason Kenny in the men's sprint.
Track cyclists from the country have competed at past Games but it would seem that Njisane Nicholas Phillip may be one of the country’s biggest hopes for the track in the coming years. The men’s sprint competitor is the sole track entrant at these Games and says "I feel like a VIP," according to The Associated Press.
Phillip has progressed into the semi finals of the individual sprint where he will come up against current Olympic recorder holder and Great Britain's gold medal hope, Jason Kenny. The young rider came up against the now popular German Robert Forstermann who, thanks to a photo on Twitter, has become one of the sport’s most recognised sprinters - at least concerning his quad muscle size.
Despite a lacking in funding from his country’s federation, which focuses its resources on the track and field, Phillip's has been able to receive the kind of high performance training necessary for him to be a real force at these Games. There is a joint agreement with the United States which has meant that some of Phillip’s time has been spent with US Cycling’s track coach Jamie Staff.
"He's a very, very talented kid, just raw talent," Staff said. "The tactics just come naturally."
"He's a racer, I know what he's capable of and some days in training I'll be like, 'What was that?!"
While Phillip is unlikely to beat the former world champion Kenny in the semi finals, his biggest goal - making it to the Games - has already been achieved.
"I've already made it here, so I'm happy with that," he said.