National cyclist, Njisane Phillip, will wrap up his lengthy training camp in Cali, Colombia, on Sunday, before heading to London for the final stage of his Olympic qualifying campaign — World Track Cycling Championships — which sprints off from March 2-6.
Phillip and his twoman coaching unit of Absie Rincon Reyes and Elisha Greene are expected to arrive in Europe on Monday.
The 24-year-old cyclist has qualified for ‘Worlds’ on several occasions over the past five years but surprisingly will now be making his debut.
Phillip will also be making a return to the historic London Velodrome track, where he shocked the globe four years ago by placing fourth in the Men’s Sprint event. Speaking to the two-wheel ace prior to his departure from Colombia, Phillip is pumped.
“I’m very excited to go out and compete in London because this (is) my first World Championships,” he said. “I’ve never experienced that atmosphere before so I’m really pleased to finally be a part of it. It’s a lot more racing and I’ll be able to look at a lot of different athletes from around the world and view some of the other races like the Kilometre Time Trial, Scratch Race and Points Race, so for me it’s going to be an inviting atmosphere heading into it.” According to Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation official, Gary Acosta, the World Championships have constantly eluded Phillip. He revealed that Phillip’s first real chance at qualification “was snubbed in January of 2011 after a crash at the World Cup Cycling Classics in Beijing which saw him break his clavicle.
This forced him out of competition and out of contention for the World Champs.
In 2012, a crash in the men’s keirin at the Elite Pan American Championships forced a decision to rest and recover after five months of top level international cycling. This move did him well as he would place fourth at the Olympic Games in London that year.” The following year, Phillip decided that it was not in his best interest nor was he in the required form to compete at such a level after his lay-off. In 2014, and coming off two impressive World Cup legs for the season, Phillip marked his return to World stage once again. But, tragedy struck once again in January as Phillip had to be hospitalised due to kidney failure, again ruling him out from the event in April. Still trying to recover and return to his pre-kidney failure form, Phillip would have an ordinary showing at the 2014/2015 World Cup season, seeing him marginally qualify for the World Championships.
Not satisfied with his form or fitness, especially knowing the potential that he can achieve, Njisane along with his management team decided that it was not in his best interest to compete at the event in France. On the coming weeks prior to ‘Worlds’, Phillip concluded, “The training camp has been going very well and it’s now just two more weeks before the start of ‘Worlds’ so I just want to continue to be strong and focussed on what lies ahead. We’re presently in the final stages of training right now. I’m getting stronger and working a lot on my sprinting.” At the World Championships, Phillip will compete in the Men’s Sprint event only, having not been able to secure a spot in the Men’s Keirin.