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Awardees Phillips, Paul inspired to work harder
Members of the Commonwealth Games 4x400-metre relay gold medal team (left-right) Che Lara, Asa Guevara, Machel Cedenio and Jereem Richards, with their Humming Bird Medal Gold, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain on Saturday. - SUREASH CHOLAI

Awardees Phillips, Paul inspired to work harder

Go Back : Newsday : Jonathan Ramnanansingh : 25.09.2022

NATIONAL AWARDEES Michael Phillips (sport) and Nicholas Paul (cycling) expressed elation as 2022 recipients of the Humming Bird gold medal.

The pair was among a list of 18 current and former athletes, and sport administrators, who was selected to receive national recognition for their yeoman service to sport and its development in TT.

Also receiving Humming Bird gold was the men's 4x400m relay team of Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio, Dwight St Hillaire, Asa Guevara, Kashief King and Che Lara, who powered to gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Humming Bird silver was presented to Marilyn Gordon (sports and education), Charmaine Archer (retired sport co-ordinator/netball), Anthony Lalacksingh (retired assistant manager/cricket) and Ulric "Buggy" Haynes (retired/football).

TT's Commonwealth Games men's 4x100m relay team of Kion Benjamin, Eric Harrison, Jerod Elcock, Akanni Hislop and Kyle Greaux also earned Humming Bird silver.

And Norris Ferguson, veteran football manager and match commissioner, was presented with the Humming Bird bronze.

On receiving his first national award for sport, Phillips, a former national cyclist and ex-president of the TT Cycling Federation (TTCF), expressed pleasure for such esteemed recognition.

"I was nominated by the Diego Martin Regional Corporation and must thank them. To be alongside this list of names is something that is really humbling for me. I got an award for that what I enjoy doing, which is a plus.

"I would not have been able to be recognised if it weren't for the support of my mother, father, family and friends. I'm literally sharing this award based on all their efforts to support me," he said.

During his athletic career, Phillips medalled at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and Pan American Cycling Championships.

As an administrator, he also served as an executive member of the TT Olympic Committee and was chairman of SporTT. Phillips owns popular bike shop Mike's Bikes and is an active sports promoter, businessman, artist and motivational speaker.

"As a cyclist, I had a modest career but I think the recognition is really for what I did off the bike. In 2001, when I started West Indies versus The World series, it led the way to revive the sport of cycling.

"Back then, people probably thought I was crazy, even now, looking back, I thought I was crazy as well. I hope this award helps me to continue doing things like that, coming up with new ideas, new things to motivate people," he added.

Currently, Phillips is doing some work with the Pan American Health Organisation. He is also involved with triathlon, duathlon, mountain biking and has also lent support to the local gymnastics fraternity.

Meanwhile, two-time national awardee Paul, said he is always happy to proudly fly the red, white and black on the international circuit.

In 2018, Paul, along with fellow cyclists Teniel Campbell, Kwesi Browne and Njisane Phillip received Humming Bird silver for their impressive performances at the CAC Games that year.

This year however, Paul pedalled to Humming Bird gold after, what he considers "the most successful season" of his career thus far.

Speaking from his Swiss base at the World Cycling Centre on Saturday, Paul said, "First of all I'd like to thank God for this award. Being recognised by TT is always a pleasure.

"We work hard day in and day out to represent the red, white and black. So when you get these type of awards it's just even more mind-blowing.

"I've been putting in the hard work. And to now see it being paid off, it's unbelievable. It's just to keep on my journey and continue working hard to achieve my goals and dreams."

Paul, who turned 24 on Friday, is the flying 200m world record holder (9.1 seconds).

For this year, he has had several historic, podium performances; the last being a hat-trick of gold medal (sprint, keirin, 1km time trial) rides at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Peru, in August.

He also became TT's most achieved Commonwealth Games cyclist by blasting to gold (keirin), silver (sprint) and bronze (1km time trial) in Birmingham.

In October last year, the speedster's silver medal in the 1km time trial at the World Track Cycling Championships ended a 30-year drought when he became TT's first cyclist to grab a world cycling medal after legendary national cyclist Gene Samuel accomplished the feat in 1991.

He also dominated at the UCI Nations Cup legs and Pan Am Track Cycling Championships earlier this year, medalling at both meets.

Paul now trains his eyes on the World Championships in France, scheduled to ride off in October.

Awardees Phillips, Paul inspired to work harder
Michael Phillips after receiving his Humming Bird Medal Gold at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain on Saturday. - SUREASH CHOLAI