Njisane: Bovell III deserves his award
By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Saturday, September 15 2012
“GEORGE deserved it.”
Those were the congratulatory words coming from the fastest man on wheels in the Western Hemisphere, Njisane Phillip, as he positively reacted to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s recognition of Olympian George Bovell III, on his historic bronze medal performance in the 200m Individual Medley at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Bovell III was specially rewarded by the Prime Minister with $300,000 cash at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s on Thursday.
Also on the receiving end of this hefty sum were both Olympic bronze medallist 4x100m and 4x400m relay team members.
They were Richard “Torpedo” Thompson, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns and Emmanuel Callender (4x100m) and Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Deon Lendore (4x400m).
The Prime Minister stated in her feature address that Bovell III was “never rewarded by the former PNM regime for earning the country its first and only Olympic swim medal.”
Phillip was pleased with the justified reward for the Olympic swimmer.
“It was definitely nice to see them reward him after so long. It’s been four years and George not getting anything (reward) is sort of sore.
“So to shine a light on him, I think they gave him what he deserved. He was Trinidad and Tobago’s only medallist in swimming in 2004 and he needed to be recognised for his achievement. No matter how long ago it was.“
He continued, “George set the pace and opened the Olympic medal haul for Trinidad and Tobago in swimming. He needed to be recognised and rewarded. He deserved every bit of it.”
Reflecting on his Olympic campaign, where he cemented himself as the fourth fastest male sprint cyclist in the world, Phillip was grateful for the highly competitive exposure.
His journey throughout the Olympic qualifiers and the Games have indeed taken a toll on the flourishing cyclist.
However, the youngster chose to learn from his historic performance and direct his competitive focus for the 2013 season.
“A great experience. I would say I knew what it took to get where I’m at right now. But, I definitely have to work harder. I’m more than satisfied how everything went and I’m glad that local cycling got a shining light on it now. The next four years, well the public now know what it’s about and I want to continue to bring a lot of hype to it (TT cycling). I’m looking forward to see how it goes within the next couple of years,” he added.
While the local rider continues his post-Olympic rest and relaxation at home in TT, he is eager to get back onto the competitive circuit. Phillip made known that he is presently doing a lot of gym-work and prepping himself for the forthcoming competitive year of heated cycling.