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Thursday 20 June 2019
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Nicholas Paul: A natural nominee

TTOC People’s Choice 2018

National cyclist Nicholas Paul during practice at the National Cycling Centre, Couva, earlier this year. PHOTO BY ANIL RAMPERSAD.
National cyclist Nicholas Paul during practice at the National Cycling Centre, Couva, earlier this year. PHOTO BY ANIL RAMPERSAD.

THE TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) is set to host its 2018 awards on December 29 at Hyatt Regency. Newsday takes a look at some of this country's best performers for 2018 who are on the list of nominees for the People's Choice Award.

We focus today on Nicholas Paul, whose rise to cycling prominence has been undeniably inexplicable. Five years ago, Paul was a virtual unknown in sport, playing football for leisure at his alma mater Naparima College with little consideration of a future in the game.

His name has since become not only popular in cycling circles, but among general TTO supporters, who have been following his unrelenting progression toward elite status.

In July, Paul, still a teenager, did the improbable when he captured a brilliant hat-trick of gold medals at the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games, in Barranquilla, Colombia. Two of his gold medals were earned by himself: the men's sprint and the 1km time trial. Paul along with Njisane Phillip and Kwesi Browne also joined forces to capture the men's team sprint, setting a new national record in the process (43.873 seconds).

Paul and his team-mates' efforts in Colombia were recognised by the Office of the President in September, when he, Phillip and Browne were recipients at the annual National Awards, picking up the Hummingbird Medal Silver. Their cycling partner on the women's side, Teneil Campbell, who won three medals (one gold) at the CAC Games, and young swimming sensation Dylan Carter (three gold) also earned the Hummingbird Medal.

Paul, in a brief interview with Newsday previously, said such awards were secondary to him. He said he remains focused on his physical and psychological development. The 20-year-old added that he has every intention of earning a place at the 2020 Summer Olympics and representing this country with pride and distinction.

The TTOC award is presented to the athlete most popular among TT sport fans. Voting taking place on TTOC's website and closes on December 23.

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