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History, fatherhood top Phillip’s Christmas list

Published: 
Sunday, December 17, 2017
T&T cyclist Njisane Phillip poses with his girlfriend Josie on a recent trip to Israel. The couple are expecting the birth of their first baby in February.

Currently under the astute coaching of former USA Olympian Erin Hartwell, a pool of young and talented T&T sprint cyclists are involved in an intense training program which could pay huge dividends in January.

Christmas as we know it is hardly in the minds of Njisane Phillip, Kwesi Browne, Keron Bramble and Nicholas Paul. There will be minimal festivities for the group, with almost no time to enjoy the merriment which this season brings.

The 2017-2018 UCI Track Cycling World Cup finale in Minsk, Belarus from January 19 to 21 will mark the debut of a T&T Sprint Team on such an elevated stage.

“Its just a part of the sacrifice. We are just training hard throughout the season. We also have the Commonwealth Games in April so we’re missing out the Carnival and Christmas spirit but its also part of chasing that pride and glory. We’re working hard day in, day out and we’re just building.” said Phillip.

It is no new sacrifice for T&T’s two-time Olympian. In fact the January leg of the World Cup can be considered a late start to his season by normal standards.

He told Guardian Media Sports, “I’m not really big on Christmas because I’m always away. Last year I was in Colombia and it was really cool to see how they celebrate but I’m not really big on it.”

He added, “2020 is definitely the goal now, the Olympic points start next year and we definitely want to be on top of the leader board to qualify a team sprint for that so that we can have more athletes representing Trinidad in the cycling discipline. That’s our main goal.”

Less than a month after the World Cup event in Belarus, Phillip is expected to achieve another milestone by welcoming his first baby into the world.

“My baby is due in February so this Christmas I would be seeing about some appointments and stuff. I’m really excited about it. Super excited. I don’t know what sex it is yet, I will wait until the day but I just praying for a healthy baby.”

Even as that exciting prospect looms, Phillip and his team are not distracted from the task at hand. They cannot afford to be.

After all, with a new world class facility now available at their disposal, a top level technical director and a young, exciting breed of riders coming through, the expectations are mounting.

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