Home / Rio 2016 / Bulls**t free zone: Njisane opens up on life of sacrifice, squabbles and success

Bulls**t free zone: Njisane opens up on life of sacrifice, squabbles and success

“It is a lonely life,” said Rio-bound Trinidad and Tobago international cyclist Njisane Phillip. “I am up at 6am and I’m out of the house at 7am. I’m on the track at 9am, I’m off the track at 12pm and I am back in the gym at 3pm.

“I’m out of the gym at 6pm. I am in my house at 7pm. And then the cycle starts all over again the next day.”

The 25 year old Phillip—or ‘J-Boy’ to his friends—is preparing for his second Olympics Games after finished fourth in the Sprint event at London 2012. And, crucially for him, the Siparia warrior will have his friend, Varun Maharaj, at his side as soigneur after the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) relented to his wishes.

Phillip is at his training camp in Milton, Canada at present but he took some time off to chat one on one with Wired868:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip. (Copyright Track Cycling News)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip.
(Copyright Track Cycling News)

Wired868: The Olympics are just around the corner now, so how do you feel? What shape are you in?

Njisane Phillip: I’m really good. I am just recovering from a minor injury. But my times are good right now. I am in a positive place.

Wired868: Injury? What happened?

Phillip: I was actually squatting and I had a personal best of 200 kilos. And when I came back up, I pushed myself and I got a small strain with the muscle over my knee. But it is a minor injury and I just had to take a week off. So I’m ready to roll. There are just three more weeks…

Wired868: How long have you been in Canada? Do you miss home?

Phillip: I’ve been here for three months. I miss my family but I don’t miss home much. Ever since I was small, I dreamt about travelling the world and being the best I can be in my sport. And fortunately enough, I am living that life. It is a rough life but, at the end of the day, I am 25 years old and I have been everywhere. (His eyes light up and his face beams as he bursts out in laughter). I am living my dream. It is a blessing. You give something to gain something.

Wired868: What do you feel that you gave up?

Phillip: I gave up family time [and] friend time. I have given up school. I’ve given up birthdays, Christmas, Carnival. And I’m a Trini boy. (Smiles broadly). I have given up my time. I’ve sacrificed from since I was a teenager. I gave up my teenage years at the age of 17 to turn pro. From there, I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade (the equivalent of lower six in Trinidad and Tobago) and I went went to the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) team in Switzerland and I’ve just been on the road ever since… It is basically about giving up your life.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip cruises during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip cruises during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Wired868: What is your schedule like as you prepare for the Olympics?

Phillip: It is a lonely life. I am up at 6am and I’m out of the house at 7am. I’m on the track at 9am, I’m off the track at 12pm and I am back in the gym at 3pm. I’m out of the gym at 6pm. I am in my house at 7pm. And then the cycle starts all over again the next day. It is 100 percent dedication. People always comment [on how athletes are performing but] I try to stay away from negative comments. I know it is people’s opinions. [But] they don’t know the sacrifice and the stuff we have to go through as athletes. It is all political—from the organisation go straight up to the bigger heads in parliament. Politics is not for sport.

Wired868: Can you explain?

Phillip: Trinidad and Tobago shows no love to athletes, y’all. From the 4×100 runners go straight back. Or they love you today and they kick you tomorrow. And I am talking about the way sport administrators and the government thinks. It is okay for the public to have that mentality because we are Trini people and that is how we think. But the people who are in charge should not have that mentality. They should have a professional mentality. That is why we ent going nowhere.

Ten gold medals by 2024? That ent happening. That ent happening! That is not a realistic goal. I’m being 100 percent real with you because I am tired of this. The people who are in charge should have a professional mentality. Things need to change.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's 4x100 metre relay team of (from left) Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman pose with their London 2012 Olympic Games silver medals in a ceremony at the Anchorage, Carenage on 29 June 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×100 metre relay team of (from left) Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman pose with their London 2012 Olympic Games silver medals in a ceremony at the Anchorage, Carenage on 29 June 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Wired868: Can you be more specific?

Phillip: If you check the facts from Junior Pan Am [Games level], we medal in every single Junior Pan Am. We have records in Junior Pan Ams. What happens when these kids turn 18 or 19? When they turn professionals? When their parents have to buy a US$30,000 bike? [And] US$2,000 wheels?

How is this country supposed to find a way for these poor kids who have talent and want to be the best they can be but just don’t have anybody to provide for them? I’m from a small town, Siparia, and I would love to help show the kids a way… The best way to make it out is through sport and music and they don’t put money in sport.

We have the talent. When I speak up people try to throw stones at me but I’m the realest one ever. People don’t understand that war. It is tough out here…

When they talk about the western hemisphere for cycling, they talk about Canada, they talk about the United States and they talk about Trinidad. But people don’t see that.

Photo: Njisane Phillip acknowledges the crowd at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Copyright Track Cycling News)
Photo: Njisane Phillip acknowledges the crowd at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
(Copyright Track Cycling News)

Wired868: Your family has done a lot to raise money to help your career. How do you think you would have done without that?

Phillip: If I didn’t have my family, I would be nothing. I would just be another statistic in the cycling ranks. I would be doing good as a junior and, by the time I got to the seniors, I would be out. Do the research. Where are all these young promising kids who won Junior Pan Am Team Sprint? What happened to these kids?

They turned 18 years old and they had to go to look for a job. You know why? Their parents can’t afford it man. [The Elite Athletes Assistance Programme maximum subvention of] TT$230,000 ent nothing man. My bike is 10,000 Euros. My wheels are US$10,000 [each]. that is over TT$200,000. What about my tyres? That is US$6,000 a pop. That is already over TT$250,000. A country should be able to provide all these things for its athletes just like Australia and like Canada. What you do is you invest and you buy like 20 bikes so you don’t have to worry about that for the next 10 years.

But I am not [just] complaining about the money, I am complaining about the support. You know what I’m saying. Imagine you have that velodrome in Trinidad (…) and some days I can go in, some days I can’t go in. Some days I can go in, some days I can’t go in. I am in a foreign country; I am in Canada and I have the Canadian coach coaching me but I am representing Trinidad and Tobago. Same thing as [London] 2012…

And when I ask the Federation for support, I get shot down. It is just bullshit.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Robert Farrier (right) and general secretary Jacqueline Corbin. (Copyright Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Robert Farrier (right) and general secretary Jacqueline Corbin.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

Wired868: What do you need from the Cycling Federation?

Phillip: First of all the [set-up of the] Federation has to change. The Federation is a voluntary job [for its officials]. The [position of] TTCF president is voluntary. (Pauses for emphasis). You mean to tell me you have people who are volunteers making career decisions for my life? For my bread and butter? How can you hold  a volunteer accountable for [their] decisions?

The government is funding the cycling organisation, so the government is supposed to have a say in their decisions. The government is putting money into this body every year and we don’t see none of that. So they need to audit these people and make them accountable.

We need to have a national coach… Even if we put the relevant things in place today, we probably won’t be even ready for 2020. That is how backward we are. Which coach will want to come work for Trinidad after we fired three coaches in three years? Who wants to work in a country like that?

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago cycling coach Erin Hartwell now coaches Cycling Canada. (Copyright Cycling Canada.ca)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago cycling coach Erin Hartwell now coaches Cycling Canada.
(Copyright Cycling Canada.ca)

Wired868: Did you enjoy working with any of the previous coaches?

Phillip: I love [current Canada coach] Erin Hartwell. He was fired by [former Sport Minister] Anil Roberts under the current [TTCF] administration. It’s all bullshit and politics man… They would have been so happy if I didn’t qualify for this Olympics just to say ‘he can’t do it.’ But I did it! These people agreed to send Elijah Greene and Varun [Maharaj with me to then Olympics]. They promised to my face. But they are sneaky and two days before they pulled out Varun and didn’t even tell us. That is disrespectful.

Varun is my friend. I am going to fight for him regardless. When I was going through my depression and I am talking to Varun and I am crying and talking about what I’m going to do with my life and if I would give up riding, who was there? And now that I made it here, they want to tell me what I need?

These are grown men with children. I am 25 years old and I am handling this better than grown hardback men who have children my age. I am more professional than them. It is bullshit man… You have other sports who are producing every single time. Track and field always has two, three or four new members [for every Olympics]. But, in cycling, it is just me.

Wired868: The TTCF’s position is that Varun Maharaj never worked as a soigneur before and cannot help you to be better at the Olympics, as opposed to a team manager. Are you confident that Maharaj can do the job you need?

Phillip: I am confident he can because an athlete knows what an athlete needs!Trinidad always talking about a manager, a manager, a manager. But you don’t need a manager for minor stuff like anti-doping. I can go to anti-doping by myself. I have been doing most of the stuff myself for years. Yo, these people are just trying to mess with me.

(TTCF executive member David Francis eventually gave up his accreditation for the Olympics so Maharaj could take his place. Phillip thanked him for his decision).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Varun Maharaj (left) celebrates during the 2015 Southern Games.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Varun Maharaj (left) celebrates during the 2015 Southern Games.

Wired868: Will you continue to race for Trinidad and Tobago after the Rio Olympics?

Phillip: Nah, that’s it. I’m retiring.

Wired868: Do you think it would be a good idea to wait until after the Olympics?

Phillip: There is nothing like wait here. Let me put it down from my standpoint. On August 12, I go and win gold. I give my love to my real fans and to Cycling Canada for what they have done for me—they picked me up when I was down and they offered me a place to train. And then that’s it.

Wired868: How did that opportunity with Cycling Canada come about?

Phillip: It was based on the relationship I have with [Canadian cyclist] Hugo [Barrette]. We had trained together six years ago in [Los Angeles] and the friendship and the bond has always been very tight. Hugo qualified for Keirin and I qualified for Sprint, so Cycling Canada thought it would be a good idea for us to train together just so we can get the best out of each other. They helped me because [Hugo and I] won’t be participating in the same event [at the Rio Olympics].

Let’s say he did qualify for the same event, what would be my position? Where would I have trained? I can’t afford to sacrifice another four years of my life to go through this [uncertainty] again. I am 25 years old… I cannot stay here and have these people playing with my life…

Photo: Canada cyclist Hugo Barrett (left) and Trinidad and Tobago's Njisane Phillip show off their gold and silver medal returns respectively at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)
Photo: Canada cyclist Hugo Barrette (left) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Njisane Phillip show off their gold and silver medal returns respectively at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

I have given the sport 16 years of my life and now I am thinking about my future. I cannot afford to give the TTCF another four years. I can’t. I can’t. I want to be in a position to win because I know my talent. You understand? And that’s all I am asking for. I am not asking for a million dollars or a house. I am just asking for support.

Hire the proper coach, the proper staff and don’t be on this bullshit. That’s it. We are not asking for no money or for friendship. We are not asking for nothing. We just want fair game [with foreign cyclists]. They bully athletes so much that they close their mouths but I am speaking out…

The Olympics is something that [represents] nothing but excitement and joy [for me]. This is what people dream about every four years. People are killing themselves and using drugs to get to this place and I made it here two times and I am 25 years old…

I have done what I can do to the best of my abilities. I thank everybody for the help they have given me. But after this Olympics, I think it is time for me, Njisane, to find a new path.

Wired868: So you will quit cycling altogether?

Phillip: I think it is safe to say that we had a great journey. She has been wonderful to me. She has showed me the world [and] I have got to see things that I would never have seen otherwise. I am thankful for the journey. Everything happens for a reason…

Maybe I will run for president because the [TTCF] election is in October. You never know. (Smiles). Maybe I will run for president and try to make a change.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip shows off his silver medal at the Toronto 2015 Pan America Games. (Courtesy TTOC)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip shows off his silver medal at the Toronto 2015 Pan America Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTOC)

Wired868: Tell us how you got into cycling in the first place?

Phillip: I started cycling at the age of nine with my dad [Nicholson Phillip]. It was more like a bonding thing for me and him because that is what he liked to do. And we would ride and talk and catch up on the years that were missed.

Wired868: Did you like it straight away?

Phillip: No, I didn’t like it all actually. It was really more forced on to me. I remember training rituals when I was 11 and he would want me to keep a certain [RPM or revolutions per minute]. And anytime I dropped below that, he would sit behind me and it was like whack, whack. (Laughs). It was forced on me. He was really, really hard on me.

I never got to grow up like a regular kid. I never got to try any other sport like track and field or soccer or anything. It was cycling and that’s the way. It was like: ‘Don’t ask me to go outside and play football because you could hurt your foot.’ He was real strict. ‘This is the way you’re going and that’s it.’

Wired868: When did you start to appreciate cycling or realise you had something special?

Phillip: When I was 17, I started enjoying it. I got to travel with my teammates and I went on my first international trip to Quito, Ecuador and it was so cool, just being able to see somewhere different. (Laughs). I got second place in the Sprint and third in the Keirin [in Quito]. From then, I really began to take it more seriously.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip (right) sets the pace during battle with United States rider David Espinoza during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip (right) sets the pace during battle with United States rider David Espinoza during the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Wired868: What is the trick to being a top sprinter?

Phillip: Before it was basically about control and speed. But the game has changed within the last four years and it is so much about strength and power now. And also about strategy and your threshold. It is really exciting.

Wired868: Tell us more about the strategic part…

Phillip: Well you try to watch videos of your opponent like once or twice a week and just study them to get an idea of where they like to jump [and] what are their weak points and strong points. You do your homework… And when you get to the race, you look to see how fast you are because you have to do a time trial in the beginning. If a guy goes under nine, you know his speed is pretty good. If a guy goes 10-something, you know, okay, you know how to adjust your race. But it really comes down to such a… (He laughs at his own efforts to explain the technical aspects of his field to a layman). The fastest man can lose. That is how it is. You have to be real super-focused and be able to average different speeds, distance, the jump… It is a lot of thinking!

Wired868: What is your strong point?

Phillip: Right now, I don’t really want to say. I have been really strategic in changing my ride. I decided I wanted to change up a lot of my rides because the world studied how I rode before. So I have a whole new approach to sprinting and a whole new game plan. So don’t worry. I will bring it home! (Laughs).

Wired868: Okay, well what was your strength at the last Olympics?

Phillip: Ahmmm… My youth man. My youth and the confidence of not losing. Just being young and (using) the confidence, the energy, that swag. I was just in a different mindset. I was in the moment and I maximised that moment. I knew it was my time to shine and I did that.

Photo: Njisane Nicholas Phillip celebrates after defeating Germany's Robert Forstemann during the London 2012 Olympic Games men's sprint round at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park in East London on 4 August 2012. (Copyright AFP 2016/Leon Neal)
Photo: Njisane Nicholas Phillip celebrates after defeating Germany’s Robert Forstemann during the London 2012 Olympic Games men’s sprint round at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park in East London on 4 August 2012.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Leon Neal)

Editor’s Note: In Part Two, Njisane Phillip discusses dealing with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), the unspoken horrors of the Ministry of Sport’s EAAP funding program, growing up on a bike and how music and swag fuels his track success!

Click HERE for the first part of Wired868’s 2016 Olympic series as Trinidad and Tobago’s 400m hurdle young prince, Jehue Gordon, discusses injuries, fair-weather fans, crazy Felix Sanchez and his planned Rio revival.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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236 comments

  1. Sports RoI as Andreas highlighted is a very real issue facing sports in the last decade.
    Corporations—both at home and globally—are being bombarded by requests for support. More and more conglomeration and more and more brand acquisition has meant that we see dozens of brands on the shelf, but the facts are that, for many of the top brands, we’re facing the same decision-maker with our proposal.
    Look at sports drinks: In T&T we have several global brands represented. But they’re all licensed. A promoter is sending a proposal to someone to whom a sports drink is a small niche market, not a primary market.
    FACT: more Lucozade sells in pharmacies than in gyms and at athletic events. Don’t even count fetes: We did Lucozade at GFW two years in a row and they moved more cases there than at ANY sports event EVER. That has to change in order for us to see more direct cash investment in sports by major brands.

  2. Cherisse and Kenneth H., you do not in all honesty believe that money actually goes directly to the Athletes? Aside of that: You as thew voters have to make clear to the Government and corporate sponsors that investing into sport will get them a good RoI (meaning being elected in case of politicians and being bought in case of Corporate. As long as in our society a Sports drink manufacturer sees a better RoI in sponsoring a fete or a Carnival Band rather than a sporting event nothing will change and no Sports admin will be able to change that. Lasana there seems to be this concept that all Sports Admins get a printing press from Central Bank and use that to fill their own pockets with perks, while dictating to their members unconstitutional agendas….. that is far from true for a good bunch of us….. Medals are being bought, one way or another: Either you go straight to the Trophy shop, buy illegal drugs or you really invest into sport, for all of that it needs a society that lays out to those that have the money how important that is over CEPEP, URP, Gate or other Government funded projects…. Now i have to go back to work until i done dealing with my Wednesday deadline, cause my printing press in the basement is broken…..

    • Whether the money goes to the athletes directly or indirectly I think the point is that they recognise the value of investing in their athletes and by extension the sport sector… ofc every country has its own issues but they have been reaping the rewards of their investments…clearly.

    • Can you give me directions to your basement when you’re done fixing that printing press Andreas Stueven? Lol.

    • sure,l but i have to catch up first replacing the money i spend on behalf of Athletes…..

    • Lol. I think you’re being a tad sensitive Andreas. I do understand your point. But I just don’t think it changes the fact that athletes who want to be champions are not imagining things when they say they need more investment for a better chance to succeed.
      It is unfair to see they are just griping. Just as it is unfair to say all administrators are self-centred crooks.

    • That is very true Cherisse and people like myself and others that are involved in Sports administration have been saying that for some time….. the fact remains: We as Voters and Consumers have to make that decision…. there is no one to blame fore this other than the collective society, that clearly doesnt have it’s priorities straight….

    • I have better things to consider and do than to respond. All yours Lasana

    • Sure Andreas. I didn’t get the bit about money going directly to the athletes because I don’t think anyone was asking for that. Certainly not Njisane.
      I do agree that the public can play an important role in how this works. But that doesn’t absolve the sport administrators eh.
      Who is best equipped at impressing upon the powers that be, the importance of the sport industry? I think that should be the sport bodies themselves.
      But it is a chicken and the egg situation sometimes as sport bodies themselves are run by volunteers and are often struggling to stay afloat.
      Athletes will counter that, when they go out there to compete, nobody wants to know whether they were surviving on no per diem, have old equipment and couldn’t afford vitamins. They just want results.
      So if the athlete also demands more from the administrators, it is worth remembering that too.
      I know you might feel, with some justification, that people are expecting too much from sport administrators. But welcome to the club eh. Lol.
      And of course the elephant in the room as that quite a few of our more visible sport administrators ARE crooked, inept or anti-athlete.

    • I agree pretty much with all of that, I do think (or at least want to believe until proven otherwise) that the ones trying are still in the majority. And don’t get me wrong, if I have it the Athlete will get it. … Athletes and Admins are supposed to be on the same side of the coin. While you have a point that the administration is supposed to sell the sport, make no mistake: All we can sell is success. .. Why do you think that article puts expenditure in comparison to medal count? at the end of the day it is all about RoI: As I said as long as Lucozade sees better returns in the Fete business we are fighting a uphill battle and we can be able and willing as much as we want. …

  3. At the moment Dennis Allen, it looks like the end of an era for men’s sprinting. In the shorter distances anyway. Bledman might still be here in four years. Might.
    But not sure if we will have anyone ready in time for four years down. Although Khalifa St Fort and Machel Cedenio should be flying by then.

    • boy…that TTO bib ain gonna be breasting a tape in a medal-winning performance for a generation.
      i like Sorrilo’s chances in the 200m.
      we gotta look at the women and the quarter-milers

  4. the links between BP and the MJP centre has already brought some valuable insights into our top elite athletes.
    we need some MAJOR investment into sport science industry here.
    we got a great infrastructure. but these things are always for a time. We MUST cash in on this era

  5. Andreas Stueven, isn’t this a sobering reality of the cost of success and fit into what Njisane is saying?
    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/datablog/2012/aug/13/olympics-2012-cost-per-medal-team-gb-funding

    • “Since 2008, a total of around £100m per year has been invested in 1,200 athletes competing across 47 different sports in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”…..#Wowzer

    • I hope this shuts up those who vehemently criticized our cyclist. When Trinbagonians, the T&T Ministry of Sport, and all T&T sports organizations understand what’s required is more thank patriotic support we ‘might’ begin on our goal of 10 golds in one Olympic games. Until then, crapeau smoke we pipe.

  6. “Right or wrong the millennium athlete is motivated by money and comfort”. Is this to be taken as acceptable? My view is that participation in sport should be motivated by the love of sport. Any time we venture into the realm of money and to some extent comfort we move from sport as enjoyment to sport as vocation. Should we be employing career athletes or encouraging wholesome participation for love of sport and love of country – higher values. Athletes should differentiate between DEMAND and REQUEST. Although his point of view is rational and understandable, it comes across as an emotional outburst based on selfish expectation. (What would be the situation if we had several elite athletes all asking for personal staff?)

  7. Njisane is absolutely correct! “T & T shows no love to athletes” and that is in all sports!! especially at the International level with poor representation by the relevant TT sporting officials, who can cause an athlete not to qualify for their righful position after making years of personal and financial sacrifices…Sports in T & T, is indeed a lonely life!! only when you make it to first place ….or gold ! then you are showered with love and your name is everyone’s lips!! It is what it is.

  8. if Njisane Phillip in his position still has to pay for his bike, then he clearly doesn’t market himself well. …

  9. Great article – and so many points applicable to many different sports

  10. Njisane totally enjoyed the celebrations when Keshorn won his gold medal so I know that he will enjoy that limelight if he brings home a medal and better yet if it is gold. I wish him well.

  11. The parade and celebrations when the medalist(s) arrive back at Piarco should compensate for the lack of prior support.

  12. Bless the athletes out there giving their all on behalf of a country so steeped in bobol and general nonsense.

  13. So glad I finally got time to read this article. Njisane has a good head on his shoulders. I hope he brings home that medal. Like he said it’s not just the fastest. It’s really the strongest and the smartest for the sprint. Strategy and a little luck and that gold could be his. Then he could make up for all the fun he missed in his life. He seems like a really affable guy.

    • He is a ball of energy and seems very sincere. High strung and impulsive too. Which is a regular trait for elite athletes too. But he comes across as a nice kid who is trying to be a standup guy.

  14. He says it so well good luck we are behind you all the way….when I read this I am so glad it worked out for you …my heart is breaking for Thema Williams – her story did not work out so well – amazing the power that these volunteers have over people’s lives and careers.

  15. I would get up at 4am and ride to Grande every morning from Arima and on weekends hit Toco or Mayaro with club members in order to put in my miles and I was not even on Njisane ‘s level . I am glad that he has told his story . All the best to him in Rio .

  16. What about Quincy ” Always Vex” Alexander he ent going to Brazil ? That is strange.

  17. Maybe the time has come more T&T athletes to deliberately start competing and winning Olympic medals for other countries for us to wake up.

  18. Excellent interview. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

  19. The team that won medals at Jr pan am. As he said what happened after?

  20. Another big problem is this… I was told that $250,000 is awarded annually to each elite athlete upon completion, submitting and review of formal documents. How in the world could a sprinter, a javelin thrower, a gymnast, a shooter, a cyclist etc have the same elite annual funding? Each sport has different necessities, different expenditures, and different events around the world! This to me shows no fore-thought, no due diligence to understand the requirements for each sport. This puts some athletes at an advantage and others at a disadvantage. A change in our thinking is sorely needed.

  21. We have actually had a lot of cyclists going to the Olympics and doing well despite the issues raised by Njisane and I am sure they could not afford the kind of equipment that he is fortunate to have so I hope he brings home a medal this time given the sacrifices that he has made.

    • Understandable observation! Here is the thing, Joan. Cycling, track sprinting, gymnastics, football etc yesterday are not the same today and will not be the same tomorrow! Change is a constant! The times are faster, the required trainings which are about 8 hours a day are longer and tougher. Additionally, cyclists like Gibbons, King and Hoyt had funds, not small but BIG funds, coming from family and friends to supplement the government funding. AND each athletes’ needs are unique. understanding that and providing customized support is key for an elite athlete’s success

  22. I hope Minister of Sports reads this interview Lasana Liburd !!!

    • Many Trinidadians will never get it, especially those who never partook in sports at an advanced level. Their national treasury money is stolen from under their noses but they are so misinformed, politically polarized and confused in some way that they will never see the light to ever understand. According to you… “Them really good, yes!”

  23. Raw and passionate as only one who is in it can know it. Good luck Njisane

  24. For those of you who are still not convinced…. One of the questions to be asked, especially of the last Ministry of Sports decision makers (Anil Roberts and PM Kamla), concerns the $400 million plus dollars that was spent in the last 6 years, or should I say, given away and unaccounted for under the LifeSport program? Imagine if that money was applied wisely to all sports in T&T how much more successful our elite athletes would be. That type of mismanagement, skulduggery, and corruption is what infuriates elite athletes who have to do with pittance funding and compete against world class athletes whose countries understand how critical it is to not only support their sports ambassadors but understand the necessities of their respective sports.

  25. Njisane isn’t serious. Lol.
    His bike is more than some NSOs get for all their athletes. If we have ten cyclists, he wants the government to spend 3 million dollars alone just buying bikes?? And if 3 million is going to buying bikes, how much more is the cycling federation to get for its junior athletes here and development and so on? The country cannot afford that kind of expenditure for one NSO.
    Professional athletes might want to consider working on their brand and increasing the quantity and quality of their endorsements. And it is more than doable even if you are from this region. Usain.
    Second thing is he wants the government to have a say in the decisions of the cycling federation? Would he like the IOC to ban the country from participating in the Olympics due to government interference?
    And thirdly… To whom is he referring when he talks about his “real” fans?

    • The T&T government provides much of the funding hence the T&T government should be monitoring the expenditure of the funds dispersed. That fiduciary responsibility has never been done for decades! That type of incompetence in accounting encourages misappropriation of funds, ‘selective’ elite funding and insufficient funding to all our athletes. Over the last 30 years, approximately $9 billion TTDs was allocated to the Ministry of Sports! Ever wondered where most of that money went? Just observe the homes of some of those who were awarded contracts for incompetent work, the cars they drive and the homes of some Ministers and secretaries. None of which can be justified by the annual salaries they make. Hmmmm…. The IOC will never ban T&T from the Olympics unless the TTOC and the T&T government engage in activities that goes against the standards and laws and constitution of the IOC! Poor accounting practice and inadequate elite athletes’ fundings are not illegal but stupidity. Branding is essential as you correctly identified! However, for T&T athletes to improve their brand requires professional sports managers and sports marketing professionals whom T&T sorely lacks; abroad those professionals are quite expensive to hire making it a major challenge for our athletes to build their brand! Elite athletes do not have the time to be managing their brand nor do sports management because they have to focus on their performance/training and that requires financial support in the $300,000 – 750,000 US figure. They need professional assistance. Regardless, T&T is not ready and will NEVER be because nobody in T&T sports including sports fans understand what these athletes undergo and what it takes to be a world class leading athletes.

    • Yuh preaching really good meh brother, Them really good yes and as I will always continue to say ‘Not ah real country eh’ Them really good yes.

    • Overseeing expenditure is not the same as having a say in decisions which is what he said. Interfering politically goes against IOC laws and standards. So yes, the country would risk being banned if the government decided it would have a say in the decisions of an NSO.

      I do not need to wonder about where money has gone when I am involved in sport at a national level and know of a 40 member youth team who will be travelling to compete next month and whose parents have to find 5-6k to facilitate their participation.

      And yes… Nobody in the country know what it takes to be a world class leading athlete even though there are people here who have produced world class athletes.
      ????

    • Chabeth, the prize money in track is a different level from track cycling. And without the expense too.
      And Usain would have had support on the way to being Usain. Maybe Njisane might have just as big with the right support.
      I agree with you on the problems of government interference though. And I know the government can’t realistically outfit all their cyclists.

    • Well Njisane left this country as a teenager. Before he became an elite athlete. So I don’t see how the government could have or why it should have offered him support in those circumstances. Many athletes follow a similar path and don’t get government support.
      When did Usain leave Jamaica?
      We want to talk about government funding athletes, well then let’s look at the bottom of the pyramid so we can have a bigger pool from which to get our star at the top.
      Because professional athletes can get financial support from sponsors, amateur athletes can’t.
      But don’t come talking about 3 million dollars for ten bikes and going on about wanting more support when you not being clear who your “real” fans are while talking about you don’t even miss the country. Lol. Lord…
      And cycling isn’t the only sport with piss poor prize money…
      If we’re going to fund athletes based on potential prize money and financial returns at the international level, pro league funding would have to be the first thing to go! Hahaha!

    • Chabeth, Njisane represented Trinidad and Tobago as a junior athlete as far as I am aware. And he raced in Trinidad as a teenager. So I don’t see why he wasn’t due support.
      You do know that Marisa Dick has gotten elite athlete funding for years too eh. And she should once she is representing us.
      I don’t understand why his location makes a difference. Usain never left Jamaica in any case. He trains at home.

    • Usain not leaving home was my point.
      I’m aware Marisa got elite funding and I’m aware of the outrage when ppl found out.
      If everybody who competes for this country as a teenager leaves and gets funding, what does that do to funding domestically? What does that do to infrastructure and personnel development locally? How does that encourage the top performing athletes at the junior level to stay in the country and participate in domestic competitions to attract more people to the sport?
      It’s the equivalent of the intellectual brain drain.

    • By elite athlete I meant top 40 in the world. Just for clarification.

    • Well we help athletes at the top. That’s another issue. We should focus more on young potential.
      The outrage about Dick was based on emotion.

    • Chabeth, Usain has what he needs locally to be the best. Njisane doesn’t. I don’t think that is a fair comparison.

    • That’s my point though. Spend the money to create the circumstances here so that more ppl can benefit as opposed to putting money directly into the pocket of one and only one benefits.
      We do not have enough money to spend 3 million on ten bikes and put the requisite amount into the bottom of the pyramid.
      Right now we’re trying to do both and are doing both halfway and everybody is complaining.
      Because X amt of dollars was wasted/stolen when it was said to be going to sport, doesn’t mean that in a properly managed economy that amount would have gone to sport. The amount from life sport has contributed to the need to access the HSF.
      The whole elite athlete funding is inadequate not just because it gives insufficient to one athlete but because it only gives to one athlete. A sport has three elite athletes, one gets funding while the other two have to ketch? It’s myopic in many ways.
      But I’ve commented more than I should… So goodnight.

    • Putting in the pocket would be a clumsy description. But I didn’t think he was asking for things for himself. He was talking about bikes for cyclists. Not all for himself.

    • Now he has the facility probably needs the coaching here now…

    • Lasana Liburd like you getting into cycling now lol

  26. I keep saying that T&T’s greatest liability in sport are our administrators. Geezanages! I recall years ago one coach took away a female sprinter’s spikes/running shoes as punishment for some infraction she had committed AT A SPORTS MEETING (either CARICOM or Pan Am Games). On another occasion I recall a friend of mine being chosen to accompany the T&T team overseas in an official position. My friend had NEVER even played netball or ran a 100 meters race. That was when I knew we were in serious trouble.

  27. I recall him and his mom talking about his ordeal to get to the last Olympics.
    Good luck to him

  28. Thanks for sharing, we will now know more about our athletes. What I admire most is how he’s confident about bringing home gold, his mind is in the right place. He’s not there to make up numbers or play around… Good mindset, good interview.

  29. This guy is confused. He has gotten his wish. The pitfalls of a developing country is totally different to a first world country which he thoroughly enjoys in his sport. He does not miss T&T. Why is he representing this country.Lots of things need clearing up in the organization but definitely not by him. Let him ride for himself in Rio. Hope he finds peace in years to come. He is right to cuss every striking person. No other country would accept this level of disrespect from their own.

    • I didn’t see it that way. I felt he is just focused on doing his job and doesn’t have the time to pine away for home. That and the fact that he has been moving from country to country to train and compete since he was 17.

    • Some people get home sick easily. Others don’t. That’s just down to the mentality of the person I think. I won’t criticise either type of person.

    • Thanks for your point.I can understand the home bit especially as how he has spent so much time outside.i see some other questions. Maybe another time.I wish the young man well in Rio.

    • Lasana Liburd evidently he has become embittered. For a fact many youths have not been able to get past junior Panams and to get there was a trial just to get financing. To say none was ever received is a hyperbole, nevertheless difficult. For a fact those of recent have not been recognized and sadly the public know little of them like Kollyn Jadeja St George double silver medalist at 2014 Panams and double gold medalist at 2015 Panams in the team sprint with Keiana Lester and 500m where she holds the record. Then there’s Nicholas Paul presently in Switzerland hoping to medal in junior world championships…so J no doubt having experienced this for many years would rightfully be upset but sadly it’s being viewed as disrespect since it’s borderline. Big point is the voluntary services that officials render; that can’t be right so remuneration at those levels need to be implemented. As for meeting the athletes demands; especially at this level all protocols should be met in sending qualified officials and meeting the demands of the athlete to have his key people at his side. Hoping for Gold but will settle for best effort…

    • Truth is there are many people in so many walks of life in Trinidad and Tobago that have become embittered with the system eh? Credit to him that he hasn’t quit. And stuck around to try to succeed regardless.
      He will make mistakes along the way and won’t always get it right. He is just 25 years old after all.

    • I don’t know if they are mistakes. May be that is how he sees life.I genuinely wish him all success in Rio.

  30. He spoke from the heart and that indicates courage. No sugarcoating!

  31. The pains athletes go through

  32. This interview was incredible.

  33. Most Federations get about a quarter million TT$ annually to spend for All its Athletes. In addition individual eligible Athletes can apply under the elite funding, i believe that is about a quarter mil too per year. I assume that a Federation that manages to get a Athlete to the Olympics gets a bit more. Out of that shall come the Equipment for deserving Athletes, Salary for professional management etc…. someone really have to help me with the math here…. while i agree sport is not appreciated in this country, i disagree that it should be a automatism that the government has to step up to the platter. Companies are upset when Athletes and Admins tell them that they cannot use their image without paying for it after d man win a medal ….. society has to put a value on sport…. and it seems that the Admins of the NSO’s (at least those that try hard) sitting between a rock and a hard place….. who and how do i give from that little money that i have? Corporate comes on board after the fact and actually for the elite funding you have to get results first too. What about the Talent that cant reach without investment. When he talks about a TT$300,000.00 bike with equipment…. that is more than what my Federation has for the entire Year for all our operations….

    • It is a good point and I know that outside of football and cricket, it must be really hard for other sports to raise funding.
      Part of the answer might be to press the governing body more. And to have a finance committee that tries to raise money year round.
      Realistically, even that won’t be enough when you look at the expenses Njisane is referring to. But the effort is there.
      You should also do a column for me, which explains the beauty of your sport sometime Andreas Stueven. I will publish it!
      Remember though that many of the athletes are complaining about the things that associations can do but don’t. You hear the word “respect” being mentioned more than money.

    • a decent tri bike is about that price though.
      we gottah ask ourselves: what are we preparing for? to show up? for a trip? to see the world?
      or to win gear? podium spots. bling.
      UK Cycling sent their cogsets for graphite vapour coating to minimise drag. that is owned by UK Cycling.
      Lotus helped develop their bikes. Total bill was 20mill or summin so
      we OBVIOUSLY cannot afford that level of development, but we cannot ask athletes to compete on second class kit.

    • Look at the Vitus bike Gene rode in LA84. That wasn’t even the top end of the tech of the day, but ask him how much that gear cost and how he managed to acquire it.
      Meanwhile, USCF had an alliance that developed some of the fastest gear on the planet.

    • Football realises the charm of having a true global sport. So they try to minimise technological advances so that kids from Trinidad or Ghana or Peru have a decent shot of competing against kids from well resourced nations like England, USA and Russia.
      Maybe the governing body can find ways to ban certain bikes if they can’t make them more accessible to poorer nations. They have some responsibility in this too.

    • Njisane specifically said that he wouldn’t need anyone if he was in a team like athletics. He is very cognisant of that fact.
      You would know that there is a difference travelling in a team and solo.

    • the UCI has done this.
      they banned the tech that Obree made in his garage from washing machine parts…oh…wait..you meant the OTHER WAY AROUND?
      oh.
      #NeverHappen

    • Like how swimming banned those suits for instance. And tennis has banned rackets from time to time I think. Although for different reasons.

    • Lasana as far as the governing body goes and the fund raising i can tell you that is a uphill battle: while as i said everyone like to put a ad in the papers with a picture of the Medal boy or girl to “Congratulate” when same Athlete and/or their Federation tell those companies to match the cost of the ad with a “Donation to the Athletes expense, they get upset and rather pull the ad… equipment restrictions only 0work to some extent as Countries that have the money will spend it on edging out those restrictions to the max…. it seems to me that the Federations often are blamed for the lack of appreciation, but trust me if you want me to spend 1/2mil on each of my top athletes and then also fork out a TT20,000.00 salary for a professional Administrator so that things improve, by all means but then someone will have to improve the annual budget of the federation. This is the reality of Triathlon: Board members: Buy your own gas, pay your own phone-bill, bring your own pen and paper and use your own laptop….. there is zero financial reimbursement for anything, the photocopying for the Lapcounting and runsheets etc are printed in one of our offices with whoever office it is paper and toner. Coaches: you Get ticket, hotel and some money for food, Athlete: Officially we pay half of your Travel expense, but unofficially we currently can afford to pay all, so we do….. and so it goes on… the issue is that the society does not appreciate the importance of Sport in this country… the importance of sport to a physical and mental healthy society… if half the money spend on Party sponsorship would go into sport we would have less crime and a better society…. if the lotto-money would be by default given to the sporting-bodies (of course with a good accountability and performance control system) then no Tax payers money would be needed from MOSY, that is btw the case in most countries that win a lot of medals at the Olympics….

    • ^^^ THIS is what creates the 3RST for trips and for the lil crumb-fights.
      but it’s the reality of MOST T&T sports organisations.
      for instance: where to tri fed meetings keep?
      NBFTT meetings used to be at St Paul Street gym. now they have an office at Ato Boldon Stadium (i think) but that took decades of pleading to the MoS to achieve.
      There are those who will starve NSOs to keep them in check.

    • we host them in the boardroom of one of our Members, who kindly contributes that way…..

    • he is not a Board-member, he is just a ordinary Member….. but we get his Board room after hours for our meetings…. very grateful for that, cause we try to spend every possible cent on a direct impact for our Athletes…

    • see wah ah mean?
      and that sets up a dependency syndrome on that particular individual…cause we go cyar keep meeting in the bush eh…
      (NB: I am NOT in any way impugning this particular individual’s motives)

    • Sport administrators and athletes need to be on the same page and they we are heading in the right direction at least.
      I fully appreciate the difficulties in squeezing money out of corporate Trinidad. I’m an an entrepreneur. And Dennis Allen knows too.
      Obviously it doesn’t help when some sporting officials give legitimate reasons for complaint though does it?
      If we all pushed together, the government would listen.

    • so admins know they setting up athletes…so they will send teams abroad and use part of their allocations for booze (actual fact) and nice panty and ting (also actual fact, paid for by SporTT) cause we know they ain gonna win

    • lol i know what you mean, but trust me he actually doh get anything in return…. not even a public Honorable mention because he doesn’t really want to…. we tried to convince him to candidate for our board several times, cause we want his expertise… but to no avail….

    • I’m sorry Dennis you lost me there… booze and panty and thing? not sure what you talking about…

    • yeahhhhhh dread….. basketball…it go take me too long to find that pic of the receipts…sad.

    • It still sounds like a general statement to me and that just doesn’t taste nice, last time i was on a trip for the Federation i bought a 5 day Metro pass and cereal and Milk in Walmart for myself….

    • The beer i bought was paid for with my own money… including some stuff for the federation too…

    • I understand that you feel hard done by with the negative comments against sports officials. I won’t say ALL officials are like that.
      But, to be fair Andreas, football and cricket are engulfed with issues and they are two big sports.
      Then you see issues in smaller sports like table tennis, gymnastics, cycling… Will you accept that there are more examples of problematic associations than well-run ones?

    • My first real experience in sport came because a former player in the area, “Muchin”, took it upon himself to coach us and help us organise fund raisers where our parents made cakes and stuff.
      We then went in the Eddie Hart competition and had a time.
      But my reality is I haven’t met many Muchins in sport. I know they are out there. But at the higher level, there are far too many Jack Warners, Dave Camerons and Darren Milliens.

    • …define “big” sports doh…
      Cause Soca Warriors football “big” but there are many layers of smallness in the game.
      look at T&T cricket: the SAME players people will come out to watch in a CPLT20 match and pay scalpers 500+ for a ticket…them SAME players will play national league matches and cyar even get they own wife to come watch the game.
      There are layers of smallness on all of T&T sports and we need to make the BUSINESS end of the deal work better—across the board

    • Btw Earl Mango Pierre is another man who puts his own money out for sport! And always puts athletes first. Nobody can say otherwise. He demonstrated that repeatedly.

    • you remember the basketball tournament i did back in the day? biggest year was 1999…has $80k+ sponsorship. i STILL was out over $8,000 at the end of the show.
      but there are some who can do that…most cannot.

    • Well Dennis Allen the easiest way to also raise the funds eh, is to have the boatrides and barbeques, which I use to do back in the days in Brooklyn in order to pay my players who represented my team eh and also buy equipments and send them to professional teams tryouts amongst other things but now that I have retired and back in our sweet country I will really like maybe just another two or three folks to come on board because I really have the vision to also give money incentives and the boots of their choice to the Super League , and the pro league youth divisions U 14, 16, and 18 top goalscorers and the MVP’S who might not be the top goalscorers eh, because I really believe in giving the incentives and even when I pass away this can be carried on eh so this is my plan in the making.

    • Lasana to be honest i really not seeing the issue here at cycling with this thing by Njisane…just as much as he accuses the Federation of Nepotism one could do the same with him and Varun… he bullying a person onto a trip that he wants there. As far as i concern the federation picks the National team not the team members… as i told you in another place i dont see that the Federation here acted in any way wrong aside of the fact that they failed to inform him of the reduced size of the support team and that his pick got dumped due to the fact that a manager can easier act as a aide for everything than the other way around, but to me it seems that the NF Admins are the perfect people to blame as there are sufficient real examples of bad Governance, but that does not apply in my opinion here. In fact i would have stuck to my guns and kept the manager on…. if the federation had gotten their wish to send three people they would now be in hot water to send three support people for one Athlete which is a waste of taxpayers money… so no matter what they decide will loose in the public opinion and with that you will find less and less that are willing to make a difference and being accused and more and more of the crocks that just gonna sit it out like the guys from gymnastics….. the problem is not the crooked Sports admins, the problem is that Corruption is a part of life in this country and street smart is the most popular sport here. Until the society decides as a whole to end that, nothing will change and the few that try will do so in vain and become less and less…

    • Andreas, are you suggesting that the only problem Njisane had with the TTCF was with getting Varun to Rio?
      It wasn’t. And if you remember, Gene Samuel also chimed with issues that go back 20 years.
      I agree with you that corruption is a nationwide issue and not a sporting issue. In fact nobody accused cycling of corruption from what I heard. Just of being less than professional in their set up to the point where athletes become frustrated.
      Njisane works and his family spend and they sacrifice to get to the Olympics. And then you want to tell him which official he needs in Rio?
      That’s treating him like a child I think Andreas. Cycling didn’t give Njisane that spot. He earned it. And now you want to dictate to him?
      I’d have a problem with that although you’re one of my favorite administrators. Lol.
      You can have a meeting with him and try to convince him about what you think is for his own good. Beyond that, he has full right to pick his own support crew. Just like many other athletes do.

    • so if he were not the only athlete to go, who decides then?

    • if two or three Athletes qualified? and everyone wants someone different… who allowed to get what he wants?

    • i glad i one of your favs and i will try my best to stay on your good side…lol but in this case i see that different to him, obviously there is some leeway since he is the lone Athlete, but for that it should also have been clear that he can not go with three support staff…

    • Andreas, I can give you a real example. There are two swimmers. Veteran George Bovell III and teenager Dylan Carter. There are two officials allowed.
      Bovell got both. One for his father who is not a coach or manager. The other for his South Africa swimming partner who isn’t coach or manager either.
      Dylan goes solo. Maybe Bovell will coach him. :-/

    • Them really good yes and only in our sweet country.

    • Yep i know…. so is that right?

    • the support is for the team, unless a sport requires a individual support the coach, manager and whoever else is for the entire team not for a individual athlete…

    • that is the same boat, but then again that is ASATT… doh get me started on dat….

    • Why would an Olympic athlete sabotage them self though? We must give them more respect than that.
      I certainly don’t think what is happening with swimming is right. But that is because Bovell gets both picks and young Carter gets none.

    • its because its not the athletes pick, Lasana you think Athletics get a personal pick for each Athlete…? The thing is that even if it is only one Athlete there are still certain duties that have to be taken care of by support staff, the Federation picks (probably after a discussion with the individual athletes and their coaches) who they see best fit, if it is only one Athlete in most cases they probably will allow the Athlete to choose or have more influence than within a team of lets say ten Athletes….

    • that’s my point… Athletics has the same posts supportwise, but because its a bigger team there is still a limited amount of support staff as coaches etc. and they report to the federation not the Athletes, In the case of cycling its the same, just on a smaller scale ( well one to be precise) in that case you may or may not do the Athlete the favor of picking his people… we do that too…. but its not an entitlement… and there are certain coaches we would not pick because we would fear problems on the trip….

    • Andreas, look around the list of athletes outside of track and field. You will see that his demands are the norm and not the exception. And he is also a genuine medal hopeful which ought to be considered as well.

    • and all that is well and good, what im saying is that he paints the Federation as a bunch of selfish heartless people and i think that does not do them justice, if cycling qualification goes any way similar to Triathlon, he could not have qualified without their help…… and that start for example with registering for a international race…. no Trini Triathlete can start in a ITU race without the federation giving their nod….

    • Idk what you mean. There was no one else on the team when Anil was going with George so there was no contention.
      There are two ppl on the team this time so room for two ppl to suggest a coach.
      Asatt has policy (not sure if written or unwritten) of supporting local coaches ahead of foreign coaches.
      I’m saying in this case, ppl who are against Franz could put forth the argument that Franz isn’t Dylan’s coach so it wouldn’t be a case of asatt not supporting the local coach.
      Franz didn’t go with Dylan to youth Olympics when he won his silver.

    • You said they might say Frantz isn’t Dylan’s coach because the athlete is abroad. I’m saying that Anil was here as Sport Minister with his athlete abroad and somehow was still accredited as his coach.
      In any case, not my fight. Good luck to Dylan and Bovell. I was giving Andreas an example of athletes having more leeway in sports where there were not large teams.

    • I don’t know why Frantz didn’t go with Dylan for the youth olympics for instance. Context might be needed there. But I don’t want to go too far from this story with Njisane.

    • Andreas, I can’t read through this whole thread, it’s just too much. Lol.
      But with respect to George and Dylan… Dylan is a B qualifier and only got his Olympic invite on the 6th of this month so I’m not even sure that he submitted names for desired support staff. I’m not sure if ttoc allows it given their deadlines etc.
      Secondly, I really don’t know if George spoke to Dylan about possible coach or not, but Roland Schoeman, is an Olympic medalist in the 50 and 100 free which are the events that George and Dylan are swimming respectively.
      I’m not sure of the availability of any other medalist in both those events or if George or Dylan even has a relationship with said person.
      Roland and George are friends. He’s brought him here before for clinics and whatnot.
      Of course the selection didn’t go to Asatt for council approval so that’s the problem that some people are having with it.

    • i do not have intimate details of the swimming situation…but i know GB3. He is not going to compromise his medal-winning potential for any reason. and THAT’s why he’s in Rio—to win medals.
      From what i’ve seen, too, GB3 is also all about development. Im 100% certain he ain about to leave Carter to any wolves.

    • Chabeth and Dennis, Dylan did submit a request for a coach and, at the time, Bovell had not. In fact, the suspicion was that ASATT pushed Bovell to select a coach–although he doesn’t have one at present–just so that Dylan couldn’t get his guy.
      In any case, Dylan hasn’t taken a stand against it so I will leave this to the swimming family to deal with.

    • Dylan’s coach is Frantz Huggins.

    • Dylan requested a coach even though he wasn’t sure to be going? That’s odd.

    • Well there’s politics with Franz and some ppl so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a move to block Franz.
      But there are those who will say that Dylan is foreign based now and that “technically” Franz is no longer his coach.

    • That never stopped Anil Roberts from being Bovell’s coach.

  34. Lasana it’s interesting that all our professional athletes have the same complaint. Today it’s cycling, yesterday was gymnastics, and football, tomorrow will be swimming, track and field, squash, rugby, basketball, netball, volleyball, tennis, badminton, cricket, hockey, table tennis, golf…. All saying the same thing, that management is not for the athlete, or the betterment of the sport, but, for their own interests. Yet we expect our athletes to produce glowing accolades for the country. Trinidad and Tobago is ripe with, pure talent. Yet we as a people do not see the value of our athletes. We see them as cash, and incentive cows. At least our athletes are beginning to speak up, and shed light on what really takes place in the sporting industry. It is up to us now, to heed our athletes plights, and demand, and ensure positive change for them.

    • World class athletes need world class officials. Not people with part-time mentalities. I’m sure that most sport officials want the best for their sports. But more than that is required.
      Look at the sacrifices the athletes makes. What sacrifices do some of these administrators make?

    • Not sure i follow you here Lasana? You mean The Admins dont make sacrifices?

    • I agree. Also like in an earlier report, both he and Gene Samuel pointed out something we also need to consider. Board members, need to have an active knowledge, and understanding of the sport they’re on the board of, which includes active participation in the sport competitively at some level. If you’ve never participated in the sport, or competed in the sport, how can you truly know the athlete’s needs???

    • Key word being “some” Andreas. I would never say all. But I can’t point to quite a few self serving ones, unfortunately. I will never say that all are like that.

    • well, we start to turn in circles here: We want Only Board-members that have actively competed in the sport and we want Professionals that know how to run things, even though they may not understand exactly the ins and out of that particular sport…. that doesn’t leave many eligible persons there…. and all of that still has to be for free or almost free, cause funding is a whole next story….

    • We don’t only want board members who have actively competed. However, there has to be at least one representative on the boards who has competed, who knows what competing involves, and can thus be a better advocate for the competing athlete.

    • Most Board require a Athletes Rep these Days.. our new constitution will too…

    • But, what is the qualifications for an Athlete Rep.? From the problems athletes are experiencing, the Reps are NOT advocating for their best interests.

    • But aside of that Board members that come from within the sport (active or past competing or not) have a fair Idea what athletes need; its a matter whether they have that at heart, not all do. But you also have to realize that there is a good chunk of people out there that are a little too full of themselves and that is not only limited to Administrators….

    • フィッリプス ナシャ It has t be a active Athlete, selected by the active Athletes…

    • I see. But, if that’s the case, then, with what is happening, the Reps voices is being disregarded by the board

    • Andreas, MOST?! Speak for your sporting body. Lol.

    • Andreas Stueven just a side note. Which sport do you play?

    • not sure whether cycling (i assume that’s what you refer to) has a athletes rep…. and as i said at another place: Njisane throws in a figure of TT$300,000.00 for Bike and wheel, throw in Helmet and some other stuff you quick at 1/2 a million, that is twice the amount our federation gets for the entire Year. where am i going to take that money from to spend on ONE Athlete out of a few hundred?

    • フィッリプス ナシャ Im VP of the Triathlon Federation…

    • Andreas, football doesn’t have that either. And although the constitution does allow for a Players Association to be recognised there is no seat on the 13-member board for a rep from the players association.
      So that is far from standard practice from where I sit.

    • so i know that the figures he calls are realistic for a Athlete of his caliber, cause i know what our Athletes spend… we once gave a Athlete a LOAN to buy a bike, he paid it all back in installments like a car, we were really proud to have managed to pull that off with the financial situation we were in and figured we spend taxpayers money really well, we got him to the World champs with his bike and use the money later for other stuff a second time, we were told by MOSY not to do that again , it creates accounting problems and we are not in the lending business…. bummer…

    • I think it all boils down to the fact, that unlike the US and other foreign countries, we don’t look at, or treat sport as a business, as we do everything else. We have enough industries inTrinidad and Tobago which can sponsor sporting institutions, to take off some the financial burden from the athlete, and the club.

    • Our IF has it… and as i said we will have it too… thing is application for us: Usually the rep is selected by and from within the elite athletes…. we dont really have any athletes that fall into that and if wee ever have it will be one or two only… so that athlete is kinda automatic in… TTPC has it too… not sure about TTOC….

    • Government officials never think of that when they are welcoming the likes of ArcelorMittal. That was very creative btw Andreas. And what does the government know about risk and entrepreneurial spirit? There are many things the gov’t can help in. Entrepreneurial spirit ent one.

    • lol Lasana just on a quick side note: that was spending Federation money on non-federation enterprise (even though sport related), but i admit it was board approved. We also looked at the possibility of him being unable to pay it back and a decision was made in that respect too (which i will not publish so don’t ask….)…. i agree that inviting investors should include to coerce them to invest into social structure too….

    • Andreas Stueven , I think that it is an excellent example of prudent stewardship. By loaning him the money, your group was able to achieve more than one objective. It’s a great pity that your decision was frowned upon by the MOS.

  35. Great interview Lasana. It gives us an idea of what athletes have to endure to represent TT. Unfortunately not much will change until we have a more professional approach to sports across the board.

  36. Sometimes I wish we can go back in time and stop LIFESPORT from happening so that we can use those MILLIONS to treat our athletes better and give them their just due. Where’s that time machine when u need it??? Sigh

  37. It is a really good read Lasana Liburd. I’m not much of a sport fan and I know next to nothing about cycling. Therefore this article was truly enlightening.

  38. Straight talk… doh hold back nothin’!

  39. This interview is critical… It is an important interview because it’s straight from the ‘horse’s mouth’ and from a gentleman who does not give a damn about the insurmountable amount of threats that will be leveled at him privately and or publicly. Njisane will be blacklisted if not already by the TTTCF. He related several essential points that should be investigated by a savvy investigative reporter! I agree the T&T government which is heavily bureaucratic, reeked with corruption and clearly does not understand the inner workings and necessities of the many sports in which we partake, has been irresponsibly managing the funds they have forwarded to these organizations because there has been no accountability for decades. Tens of millions of TTDs just given away! ‘Jest so!’ Like I have said in the past to TTOC and NAAA and all the other T&T sports organizations… Good luck on that 2024 Olympic goal of winning 10+ gold medals. Nice dream but ‘Dey fooling dey self’ not me… Cliff Bertrand, this one fits your ally perfectly!

  40. Alot of bullshits there boy… ah feelin d fella pain… good ting yuh ask d right questions boy… yuh mighta get clout!! D way he was emotional!

  41. ..Wow! Hard hitting and from the gut. And, given what happens in other sports, no doubt truthful..

  42. I applaud this young man. I fervently hope that the govt take his suggestions into consideration and revamp all areas of sports with proper management and boards that will have the athletes and players best interests at heart

  43. Got to give props to athletes for trying to have a bit of professional integrity and not just accepting ‘that is how we do business’. Hope this paradigm shift translates across fields and into management.

    • Excellent point. Remember too that unlike most other industries, our athletes can say that they know exactly what it takes to be world class.
      It would be a sin for them to accept less from their administrators. The challenge is for our administrators to match them.

    • Lasana Liburd yuh make me weep tears dey son!!!!

    • i was talking with someone just last night about how Njisane had to flip it since London…spending Ole Years in a hospital with 14% kidney function…man…people ain know nah.
      hoss…the man shoes — people does talk about how niqqaz like Jays…how much for a pair of Jordans? BRAND NEW ORIGINALS? USD250? for the most exclusive pair of Jays?
      Hoss…that’s a NORMAL pair of cycling shoes. Njisane’s shoes are custom. USD$3,000 a pair.
      They last one season.

    • When you really consider these sacrifices–and I bet there are similar stories from the other Olympic athletes–we have to ask ourselves if we are really doing all we can to support these extraordinary men and women.
      And then we have to ask ourselves why that is.

    • no we aint.
      and the why is simple: The powers that be dont give af about sports and culture.
      education is a mess. ANYTHING that involves a strong youth culture is back burner business

    • I recall u could have texted to donate funds previously. And corporate sponsors have nothing to gain or lose from goodwill-trinis will buy or not buy anyway.

    • Corporate companies prefer to spend TT$20,000 with full page congratulations to athletes AFTER they medal. Which is no more than a sneaky way to get a free ad alongside the athlete’s image after contributing NOTHING to his or her success!
      Credit to the real companies like bMobile and the rest who actually support when it matters. 😉

  44. look ting! And ah jussss get iri to make me a cup of tea!
    #Tankalang