Another fantastic gold medal performance from cyclist Nicholas Paul in the men's sprint final at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru on Saturday night.
He swept compatriot Njisane Phillip in two straight rides at the National Cycling Velodrome, ending T&T's 48-year wait for a Pan Am Games sprint champion.
They did a victory lap together with the national flag in celebration of their gold and silver medal achievements. Their performances improved T&T's medal haul to four, thanks to gold in the Men's Team Sprint courtesy Paul, Phillip and Keron Bramble on Thursday night and a bronze from boxer Michael Alexander, who received his medal on Friday evening from T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis during the presentation ceremony at the Miguel Grau Coliseum.
The showdown for the top spot on the podium in the men's sprint event lived-up to all expectations between T&T's best wheelsmen.
National cycling technical director Erin Hartwell stood back and proudly watched as his two riders mounted their respective bikes with assistance from other technical staff members.
Paul was the winner of the first ride in the best-in-three final, beating his training partner by a comfortable margin to go into race two with the physiological advantage.
In the second race, both were again wheeled out by Hartwell's support staff and it was Paul outpacing Phillip who slowed with some half lap to go surrounding the gold. He crossed the finish line and clapped his teammate on his impressive victory.
There was a bit of drama in the semifinal round after both local cyclists initially swept their respective best-in-three races.
Paul defeated Colombian Kevin Quintero in two closely-matched races while Phillip comfortably eliminated Venezuelan Hersony Canelon, winning races one and two by some margin.
However, there was a protest against Paul for a lane infringement and he was relegated. As such, race two was awarded to Quintero. This brought some tense moments for the T&T supporters in the stands.
Paul, however, kept a cool head during the turn of events. After the officials sorted out the issue, he mounted his bike with the help of national cycling technical director Hartwell, stayed with his strategy, outraced the Colombian to the line in the deciding ride and emerged the clear winner, earning the right to race his compatriot Phillip for the gold, coincidentally after doing their pre-race warm-up routine together.
With his second-place finish, Phillip is now tied as the most successful T&T cyclist at the Pan Am Games. Apart from his silver on Saturday and gold in Thursday’s team sprint, Phillip has a bronze (2011) and silver (2015) medals from the editions in Mexico and Canada respectively.
Phillip’s tally is now four medals, the same as legendary T&T cyclist Roger Gibbon, who achieved his feat at the Games in Brazil and Canada in 1963 and 1967 respectively.
Gibbon also paired with Leslie King for a combined three match sprint gold medals over three Games in 1963 (Brazil), 1967 (Canada) and 1971 (Colombia). The Games are held every four years just like the Olympic Games.
The event's bronze was secured by Quintero after he swept Canelon.
Also on the track was T&T's Alexi Costa, who was in ninth place in the women's omnium with 76 points. She first earned 26 points in the opening event, the 30-lap scratch race following her eighth-place finish, in the tempo race, she was ninth and awarded 24 points while in the elimination race, she was placed eighth and got 26 points. Her final event, the points race came after press time.
Meanwhile, Earlier in the Men's Team Pursuit, T&T's Tyler Cole, Jovian Gomez, Kemp Orosco and Jabari Whiteman competing in heat one, covered the 4,000m distance in a time of 4:24.216 in the qualification round. However, their time was not quick enough to qualify in either of the medal races.
Racing for gold will be the United States, which progressed with the fastest time of 4:03.796, and Colombia with 4:07.152. Battling for bronze will be Chile ((4:07.393) and Mexico (4:11.384).
T&T hockey men were plagued by the same problems in their final preliminary round Pool A match and sank to their third consecutive defeat.
The national team went under to Chile, still unable to convert its penalty corners. T&T had four chances in the match-up with veteran Kwandwane Browne taking three and Teague Marcano the other but three attempts were saved by Chilian goal-keeper Adrian Henriquez. Browne had one more try for a consolation goal in the fourth period but it missed the target.
Unlike Chile who completed its lone field goal in the first period thanks to Martin Rodriguez (14.10) and then connected its lone penalty corner with Juan Amoroso's shot in 36.23 going past T&T keeper Karlos Stephen.
T&T will now play the winner of Pool B, Canada, which is undefeated thus far in the competition.
Robert Auerbach Jr ended the qualification round in the men's skeet tied in 10th place not good enough to advance to the final.
Entering day two of the qualifying round, Auerbach was in 21st place after unimpressive rounds of 23 and 21, respectively on the first day. He made a vast improvement on day two registering scores of 24, 25 and 24 to have an overall score of 117, the same as Canadian Richard McBride (25, 21, 23, 24, 24), just three shots off the final qualifying spot.
Another local shooter Marsha Bullen-Jones was also involved at the range and she too did not make the cut to compete in the final of the women's 25m rapid fire pistol event, after placing 26th following stage two of the qualification round.
The local shooter ended with a score of 497, entering the second stage in 26th place with a score of 266 from the precision phase. On Saturday morning, she scored 231 in the rapid phase to add to her total to finish down the order in an event which had 27 participants. Only the top six shooters advanced to the final round.
There was no racing as no wind kept the fleet ashore including T&T sailors Kelly-Ann Arrindell and Andrew Lewis, who were to open competition in their respective Women's and Men's Dinghy Open Series.
Races one and two for both sailors were postponed until Sunday with the hope that the wind will play along.
Open Water Swimming
Women's 10km - Jada Chatoor, 10 am
Round 1 Heat 2 - Kwesi Browne, 12:18 pm
Women's Madison (30km with 12 sprints) Final - Alexi Costa, Teniel Campbell, 12.42 pm
Men's Madison (50km with 30 sprints) Final - Akil Campbell, Tyler Cole, 7.54 pm
Women's Dinghy Open Series - Kelly-Ann Arrindell (Race 1 & 2), 1 pm
Men's Dinghy Open Series - Andrew Lewis (Race 1 & 2), 1.10 pm