There is no doubt that Ian Sharpe the T&T Olympic team physiotherapist is a big man. In fact in certain circles, you would describe him as a giant and given his continual influence on the health and welfare of the team in London, this is a man whose knowledge and intelligence has to be respected. So after an exhilarating performance from Njisane Phillips in the quarter finals of the cycling match sprint yesterday, Sharpe who was at the Cycling Velodrome, explained that he had not seen any athlete in recent time with the same recovery instincts as Phillips. “He is a different kind of athlete, the kind of special ones that do not take very long to recover. His appetite is quite good and strong and he seems to have a lot of strength, he can keep going.”
Phillips defeated European champion Denis Dmitriev in two straight rides. “He is so strong after a race, it is just unbelievable. I ask him if he is okay and he is willing to go back out there and compete right away,” said an amazed Sharpe. This should augur well for Phillips in his best of three semifinal rides against British cyclist Jason Kenny, the favorite for the gold medal. Phillips will take to the track at 11am (T&T time) and will need to ride at least two other races in the space of less than two hours, since the 3rd place ride-off and the final will take place today. For Sharpe, this will be a further test of the skills with his hands. He worked with George Bovell in 2004 in Athens and will know what is required to succeed. He will be determined to produce Phillips in the right zone in terms of his body strength.
Sharpe, a veteran of three Olympics, says it is a pleasure working with Phillips since he listens and follows instructions. “He is really very special and working with him is a pleasure. He seems to want to do everything and ensure he gets everything right. I have to say he is an inspiration to everyone in the team with his positive spirit and outlook,” stated Sharpe Phillips’ style has ignited this match sprint finals. The partisan English crowd has fallen in the love with him. Before these Games, not many in Europe's cycling world knew of Njisane Phillips. But by the end of today, his name will remain forever in their minds and hearts as it is with all of T&T.
By Andre Baptiste