Trinidad and Tobago won two gold medals on Independence night in the Caribbean Championships – part of the 2017 Pan American Championships – currently in action at the National Cycling Centre (NCC), Couva. Varun Maharajh, Akil Campbell, Adam Alexander and Jovian Gomez represented the hosts in the Men’s Team Pursuit, where they won the gold medal in the Caribbean aspect with a record time of 4:20.41, defeating the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Campbell also won gold in the U-23 Caribbean Championship Men’s Sprint event on Thursday night.
Newsday spoke with the team after the victory and Maharajh said, “The team started training together just two weeks ago and with us qualifying for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, through this race, hopefully we can take things to another level by hitting world standard times.”
He continued, “This in itself is an achievement as we had an amazing ride and it feels good to be the top Caribbean country on Independence Day, so there is no better way to salute.”
The veteran of the youthful team, Adam Alexander, added: “All of us here are really good friends and it is really a group of fun guys. We just transferred that energy on the track and this was the result.”
Campbell, however, could not replicate his performance in the Men’s Scratch, finishing 13th overall in the category. The event was won by Argentine Hugo Velasquez who was followed by silver medallist Brayan Gomez of Columbia and Clever Martinez, representing Venezuela, riding into third. In the Men’s Keirin, Colombian Fabian Puerta copped the gold medal ahead of his Argentinian opponent Leandro Botasso while Flavio Cipriano claimed the bronze medal in the event.
The Women’s Team Pursuit saw the United States capturing the gold medal in a time of 3:24.94. Mexico came second in a time of 3:28.85. Cuba (4:36.31) defeated Columbia (4:40.02) in the third place ride off to secure the bronze medal. The Canadians stole the gold medal in the Men’s equivalent by ousting the United States with their time of 4:02.37. USA only managed a time of 4:04.94 in the gold medal ride while Chile (4:09.31) cruised past their Argentine rivals (4:11.31) for the bronze.
It was not all smooth riding for TT and its fans who were left stunned when rider Keron Bramble and his bike went airborne into the crowd just before entering the back straight, during the final qualification round of the Men’s Scratch. Bramble swerved to avoid a collision with two other cyclists as they crashed into each other, forcing him to manoeuvre wide but that only sent him crashing into the railing and he pitched head first into the stands. He was then removed from the stands via a stretcher and rushed to the Couva Health Centre.
Yesterday, the TTCF confirmed he suffered no broken bones and was back at the NCC, where he was resting comfortably and viewing the event. However, due the injuries he sustained to his shoulder and torn muscle tissues, Bramble would not be competing in the remainder of the Pan Am Championships. The cycling tournament continues today at 10 am with entrance free to the public and this evening at 6 pm with an entrance fee of TT $50.