Ngisani: We have a wealth of young cycling talent in Trinidad and Tobago – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
TWO-TIME Olympian Njisane Phillip believes Trinidad and Tobago has a wealth of young cycling talent that could be developed in time for the 2023 UCI Junior Championships in Cali, Colombia.
Philip was recently appointed coach of the 19-member National Cycling Team for the inaugural Caribbean Cycling Championships which runs Friday through Sunday at the National Cycling Center, Cova.
Over the past year, Philip launched his club – the JLD Cycling Academy – and has been working with cyclists Makira Wallace and Naomi Garcia.
However, his appointment to lead the TT team this weekend now sees the former National Speedster working alongside a multi-talented group of male and female elite and entry-level cyclists over the past 10 days.
They include Ryan Dabrow, newcomer to the 2021 World Junior Championships, Elite Nationals, U-23 road race champion Tariq Woods, and 2022 Junior Worlds Devante Lawrence cyclists and Phoebe Sandy, among others.
He doesn’t have high expectations for this weekend’s meeting but he wants his riders to go out, implement what they’ve learned and have fun.
On his new role as head coach, Philip said: “I would really like to thank TTCF for giving me this opportunity. It is a great honor to work with my team and give back. Working with the youth over the past week has been really good.
“I’m just honing them the things they’ve already learned. We have a nice group of rookies here that we can work on and develop towards the Junior Worlds next year.”
Competing elite cyclists include Keren Ice Pan-American double-medalist Kwesi Brown, Zion Pulido, and women’s professional cyclist Alexi Ramirez of the United States.
Philip said the team’s camaraderie has been good so far and they are looking forward to competing on the world-class circuit.
“The training was going well. We have a well-knit team too. It was a great trip seeing all the guys in the building working together, with their smiles, working towards one goal. We hope to continue after the competition this weekend.”
“I worked with them for about ten days so it wasn’t a lot of work. I had some speed planned with the tech. We worked on these things and saw huge improvement.”
Philip’s team consists of Ian Cole (manager), Elisha Green, Jovian Gomez (mechanics), and Kanika Paul Payne (utility).
He added that the event was well-timed because many of the participating rookies were part of a special ten-day induction camp set up by the UCI and TTCF, and coached by Canadian cycling coach Scott Laliberte, last month.
“I want the athletes to get out there and have fun and perform. They have worked really hard this year. They had a UCI camp a couple of weeks ago and that was good for them. It’s also good to have a competition here to go and show their talent.
“I think we are going to do well once we run out and have safe and successful trips. We just want to encourage them to go out and get some experience as a young team.
“The athletes are more confident on the bike, on the track and on the track. We were able to get a great set of gears. We are developing really well and working together. I am not worried but I am excited to see them racing. It was a great two days working with them side by side.”
TTCF President Rowena Williams also welcomed Philip on his first official coaching assignment.
“We just wanted to wish him all the best and hope this opportunity opens the way for him to grow and become even better,” Williams said.
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