ACE CYCLIST Nicholas Paul ended Trinidad and Tobago’s 52-year Commonwealth Games cycling medal drought when he powered to men’s keirin gold at the Lee Valley VeloPark in Stratford, London, England on Saturday.
In the six-lap medal race, Paul maintained second place behind Malaysian Shah Sahrom for the first three laps. When the motorised pacer exited with three laps to go, Scotland’s Jack Carlin pedalled ahead and pushed Paul into third place.
Undeterred, and with just over two laps to go, Paul showed why he’s one of the best track sprinters in the world and began pumping his legs to easily accelerate past both leading cyclists.
The speedster was untouchable and extended his lead ahead of the bunch, which also included countryman Kwesi Browne, to seal a tactically sound finish and deserving Commonwealth Games gold.
When Paul made the break with two laps to go, so did Browne, but he was shouldered out of medal contention by the other competing riders and placed sixth overall.
Paul’s finish also saw him win TT’s first Commonwealth cycling gold medal since 1966, when Roger Gibbon had a double-gold performance in the 1km time trial and men’s sprint event.
After his golden display, the Prime Minister hailed Paul’s performance.
“Congratulations to Nicholas Paul gold at the Commonwealth Games," said Dr Rowley. "He destroyed the field. A heart felt congratulations to Kwesi Browne for making the finals as well.”
Additionally, TT’s Dylan Carter was unable to repeat his podium performance from the 2018 Games in the men’s 50-metre butterfly final, as he placed fourth in 23.28 seconds.