CYCLIST NICHOLAS Paul is not stopping.
After capturing a full set of medals (gold, silver and bronze) at the Commonwealth Games last weekend and double-gold at the UCI Nations Cup in July, the speedster returns to the track on Wednesday for the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Lima, Peru.
Paul leads a group of eight riders which includes fellow Commonwealth team cyclists Kwesi Browne, Akil Campbell, Quincy Alexander, Teniel Campbell, Alexi Costa as well as young additions Zion Pulido and Sylese Christian.
Gregory D’Andrade (coach), Roger Frontin (manager) and Kevin Tinto (mechanic) are team officials.
Since Paul fractured his collarbone at the UCI Nations Cup leg in Scotland, in April, he was forced to sit out the next stage in Milton, Canada. But since his return at the final leg in July, in Colombia, he has been in scintillating form.
He has since won sprint and kierin gold in Cali and then powered to gold (keirin), silver (sprint) and bronze (time trial) at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
The Pam Am Champs serves as another stage for the cyclist to test his mettle against top flight opposition.
He sees his recent three-medal haul in England as a “good confidence booster coming into the championships so it’s just to come out here and execute again; that’s the plan.”
“The Commonwealth Games is done but it’s always a happy feeling to represent TT. But at the same time, it’s just another one (competition) under the belt, and well, it’s time to move on, go again and keep trying to win.”
At Pan Ams, Paul will compete in the team sprint, sprint and kierin events. Expected to join him in the team sprint are Alexander and Pulido. Browne will contest keirin and Campbell, endurance events.
Both Campbell and Costa will go for gold in the women’s endurance while Christian is expected to contest the sprint.
He added, “Once you’re working hard, putting your 150 per cent behind your craft and what you want to do, it will get you far. Just doing that helped me a lot.”
After Pan Ams, Paul returns to his UCI World Cycling Centre-base in Switzerland in preparation for the World Track Cycling Championships in October, in Paris, France.
On his, and all the other TT performances at the Commonwealth Games, TT Olympic Committee president Diane Henderson credited their success.
TT ended their campaign with six medals, including three from Paul, two gold (men’s 200 metres and men’s 4x400m relay) and silver (men’s 4x100m).
Jereem Richards retained his men’s 200m crown and then anchored the TT team of Dwight St Hillaire, Asa Guevara and Machel Cedenio to 4x400m gold. The quartet of Jerod Elcock, Eric Harrison Jr, Kion Benjamin and Kyle Greaux secured 4x100m silver.
“It was definitely a success,” said Henderson. "In everything you have to take small steps. In most of the performances we saw where a few of those who did not medal, did extremely well, and missed out by an umph.
“I can say that Teniel in cycling, boxing’s Nigel Paul and Tianna Guy, Gabriella Wood in judo and others, other than the medallists, really showed good performances overall.”
Henderson had faith the TT contingent would deliver a formidable showing.
“I believe that this was coming. The athletes have been working extremely hard, especially the gold medallists. We know that they have a particular amount of passion, drive and focus in achieving their goals, literally, at these Games,” she added.
Henderson credited TT’s unified bunch of athletes, who maintained a close relationship throughout the Games, although separated into five different event villages.
“The camaraderie among the athletes was extremely positive especially after an athlete (earned) a medal. However it’s not so much about the separation where we were, it was the national pride and feel of what was transpiring.
“From the time somebody (got) a medal it inspires others to do their best. This is the way TT people from my perspective, they do rally for each other and they’re supportive.
“One person might lose a little bit of confidence and another one might step in and boost that confidence. I really think that camaraderie has been good,” Henderson said.