NICHOLAS PAUL admits he is “basking in the glory” of his world record success, in the men’s flying 200-metre sprint, which he accomplished last Friday at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
The 20-year-old Paul, his team-mate Keron Bramble and US-born coach Erin Hartwell returned home, on Tuesday night, after a successful trip to Bolivia.
Upon their arrival, the trio were met by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the VIP Lounge, Piarco Airport.
Dr Rowley was leading a delegation including Stuart Young (National Security Minister) and Dennis Moses (Foreign Affairs Minister) on an official visit to Washington, DC.
Speaking at the airport, Paul said, “It’s a pleasure to be back home. I’ll just like to give thanks to the Almighty for health and strength. I’m just basking in the glory right now.”
Reflecting on his accomplishment, the Gasparillo resident said, “It’s just a great feeling to establish your goals and things that you work hard for. Getting the world record was just fabulous.”
Paul set a new world standard of 9.1 seconds, en route to a gold medal, in the flying 200m. Hartwell was also thrilled about the record-breaking feat. He was elated, he said.
“I had a scream from my lungs. At that point I was trackside. It was the target, but it was a hard record. We still had to go and do it.
“It shows that we have a world-class programme, a world-class team, world-class riders so that’s really cool.
“I don’t think it’s set in (as) yet. I think for the next few days, everybody’s going to realise how important this accomplishment is.”
Overall, Paul described the time in Bolivia as “a great experience for the whole team. We went out there with a project and a goal, and we (got) it. So we’re happy.”
Hartwell agreed. “It’s (a) great experience. We were well prepared going in, we had high expectations. One of our targets was a world record in the flying 200 which we were able to accomplish, and the gold medals in the team sprint and (men’s) sprint, which were our priority events.
“We managed to pull a bronze in the keirin, with Keron Bramble. Unfortunately, Kwesi Browne had a terrible fall in one of the qualifying rounds which knocked him out of the competition, but I’m very happy with how the team did.”
Paul, Bramble and Njisane Phillip formed the TT team which copped gold in the men’s team sprint.
“(Bramble) has stepped into that starter’s position in the team sprint, so that has allowed us to sink Phillip in position two and Nicholas Paul in (position) three,” Hartwell said.
“With Bramble, we’re really happy that he was able to pull off that bronze medal in the keirin. It’s a phenomenal result for him to get an individual result in the Pan Am Championships for the first time.”
Paul said the chemistry between himself and fellow TT riders was good.
“Our team is just one love,” he said. “It’s a brotherly love and we keep the morale high. It’s just a cool vibe, day in and day out.”
The flying 200m sprint star was also pleased with the support he got from the public. “It’s always a pleasure to have TT backing you. It’s just the extra boost that you need. We just want to hope that TT keep backing the team and, for us moving forward. It will be a great pleasure.”
What’s on the immediate horizon for Nicholas Paul?
“Right now, it’s just to rest for two weeks and get back on the grind, heading into the World Cup season.”
Hartwell said, “We’re looking at Hong Kong as being our first World Cup: that’s going to be early December. After Hong Kong it’s Cambridge in New Zealand, then Brisbane in Australia, then (Ontario) in Canada and World Championships (in Berlin, Germany from February 26-March 1).”