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World Cup inspires Paul’s Olympic quest
T&T cyclist Nicholas Paul could be the next local rider at the Olympic Games in Tokyo Japan 2020.
His preparation for this event took off with promise at the Tissot International Cycling Union (UCI) Cycling World Cup at the Minsk Arena Velodrome in Belarus two weeks ago. In only his first year as a senior rider he produced a personal best ride in the individual sprints that helped the T&T four-man team which comprised ace rider Njisane Phillip, Keron Bramble and Kwesi Browne to a semi-finals berth in the Team Sprint.
In an event that comprised the best riders in the world, the trio of Phillip, Brown and Paul finished seventh overall in a time of 44.287 seconds, a performance that eclipsed their previous ride of 44.653 seconds the day before.
Paul had his own achievements to be thankful for in his maiden world cup experience, sprinting to a blistering 9.80 seconds personal best time in the sprints to erase the 10.17 seconds ride that was set at the National Cycling Centre (NCC) recently.
His progress comes after only four years in the sport, an unimaginable feat when compared to his opponents, who would have already amassed more than 20 years of track experience.
Last year Paul helped the national team to a silver medal at the Elite Pan American Senior Track Cycling Championship at the NCC which added to his gold medal ride at the Elite Pan Am Junior Track Championship at the same venue the year before (2016).
His progress has been a welcomed sight for cycling’s technical director Erin Hartwell and the T&T team ahead of the Olympics.
The nineteen-year-old described his first world cup experience as great, saying it is always good to compete against the best riders in the world, but he made it clear his ultimate goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games. And he believes he will have as good a chance as any of achieving it.
“Most, if not all, cyclists want to qualify for the Olympics and it is no different with me. I believe I can qualify. All I have to do is keep on progressing the way I have been, continue to work hard daily and make use of the opportunities when they come” Paul said. “For now I will take any opportunity to compete on the international stage as it will help me at that level” He added.
A resident of Gasparillo, Paul is set to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and later at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games where he will receive much needed practice.
The talented T&T rider also intends to compete at other meets in the United States and Europe this year, as well as the International Cycling Grand Prix here at home to boost his claim for an Olympic berth.
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