They live, rather they compete sports worlds apart, but they have as many things in common.
One has his competitive home on land but without a tree in sight. The other’s home, where there may just be a tree or two in sight, is the sea.
Whatever their worlds, they have as first common goal doing themselves and their native Trinidad and Tobago the best they can in Olympic Games history – that’s in RIO, Brazil 2016.
Both had their Olympic baptism so to speak in the London 2012 Games and they really distinguished themselves – cyclist Njisane Phillip winning very, very very many friends and well-wishers as he enjoined in battle with la crème de la crème of cycling’s sprinting before finishing 4th and later seventh in the keirin.
He’s back to the sprint only in Rio this time and there is growing expectation if not belief that he can shock the best of ‘em,
And sailor Andrew Lewis, 37th placing out of 49 in the men’s laser – far off medal range but by far and away the best ranking for all sailors or yachtsmen who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympic Games.
Andrew attracted daily home interest in his exploits on the waters about the Weymouth and Portland sailing Academy in London and that interest looks to be two-fold in the Rio competition set for August 8th to 18th at Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay.
Njisane Phillip is 25 years old now having celebrated his last birthday May 29th .
Call him Jus Amazing and respond he will, this Siparia, south Trinidad-born world-class cyclist whose proudest moment yet is his match sprint 4th at the London 2012 Olympics when he literally had the whole of Trinidad and Tobago glued to his every ride and sensing that he was on the cusp of the best Olympic finish by a T&T cyclist in Olympic Games history.
And yes he had bested the likes of previous TT cycling Olympians like Compton Gonzalves, Roger Gibbon, Leslie King (match sprint 4th in London 2012).
Njisane has a plethora of standout tags that makes for his backing for more and better Olympic Games achievement. He is the first T&T rider to medal at a World Cup, also he is the first cyclist to break the 10-second mark in the flying sprint (9.643 seconds). He is a silver medallist in the sprint at Pan Am Games as was so in Toronto 2015 and add his passion for hard work, a never-say-never attitude, his intent focus on whatever he does, his love for interacting with children and his interest in music too.
At the 2011 World Cup in Beijing, China, Njisane suffered a broken collarbone while contesting the Men’s Keirin event and it was only after the Olympic Games of London that he opted to have the steel brace that was put in to stabilise his shoulder removed.
To think that he competed in London with that unnatural feel should leave you as it does me amazed.
And what of 26-year-old Andrew Lewis who was born November 30th, 1989 and will answer to the nickname Water Baby.
Andrew suffered a near fatal non-sailing accident on the 13th of December 2015 in Brazil, emerging from a fall as he essayed entry to his upstairs room having locked the keys inner with multiple fractures to his legs, ribs, face, and a punctured lung.
Andrew’s hospitalization in Brazil, his eventual return home to Trinidad and rehabilitation to the extent that in March this year he was back in the laser were marks of a remarkable life.
He is not expecting sympathy from any one and he is seeming to be ready to give none to his competition in Rio.
Following his performance in London, Lewis was quoted as saying, “I’m not here to do one Olympics. I want to do at least three Olympics in my life, hopefully four. So being here is not just to play around. I set a goal for myself, the top 25, and I’m not making it right now, so I’m not very happy. But I’m definitely not going to give up.
Njisane meanwhile had first planned to make the 2016 Olympics his first Olympiad.
However, his performances at various International Cycling Union Olympic Qualifiers earned him enough points to qualify for the 2012 edition in London as T&T’s lone cyclist.
Njisane recalled his mental preparation for the challenge in London saying: “I tried not to think, it was a lot of pressure. I was just trying to keep myself in a great state of mind. I just told myself that you are not supposed to be here anyway, since my plan was really for Olympics in 2016. But I’ve been given an opportunity and I will make the most of it.”
Njisane Phillip, cycling. Andrew Lewis, Sailing – Team TTO – RIO OLYMPIC GAMES 2016 – PROFILES.