When the cycling events take place at the Tokyo Olympics, the community of Gasparillo cheering on their hometown hero Nicholas Paul.
The 22-year-old cyclist, from Dalloo Street, is part of the Team TTO contingent in Japan for the games. Proud residents have put up a banner not too far from the cyclist’s home, on the corner of Dalloo and Bedeau Streets to celebrate his athletic achievements.
His father, Darren, said Paul started riding professionally at the age of 15 and his ability as a sprint rider was recognised by Anthony Sellier after he completed an endurance race in Mexico.
“He is a dedicated athlete in any sport he played. He used to play football and he wanted to represent T&T, but he had an ankle injury, so he went into cycling. He then had to make a decision, because of the demand of both sports. He could not do both, so he chose cycling.
“What Nic has is a God-given talent. He is natural and not because he is my son, but he puts in the work. He is passionate about what he does. I am proud of him, and the sky is the limit for him at a time when youths are labelled for doing a lot of negative things, we are proud he can shine a light on something positive. It is an expensive sport, socially and financially, and I have made sacrifices to get all that Nic he needed.”
Family friend Sircliffe Thompson said the plan was to celebrate Paul when he broke the world record at only 20-years-old in 2.7 seconds.
“The magnitude of that achievement for the community and wider society could inspire and stimulate young people and that would actively light up Facebook. The banner is telling his story. I always conditioned him to do what he has to do and get to where he wants to go,” Thompson said.