Cycling star Paul a future Olympic medallist

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul celebrates after copping the silver medal for the men’s sprint final during the Commonwealth Games track cycling at Lee Valley VeloPark in London, on Sunday. (AP Photo)

TRINIDAD and Tobago cyclist Nicholas Paul won his second medal of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England when he snatched silver in the men’s sprint event, on Sunday. Former TT cycling star Gene Samuel believes in Paul’s talent and said he can become this country’s first cyclist to earn an Olympic medal.

The sprint silver medal came just one day after Paul won gold in the men’s keirin event.

Competing against Australian Matthew Richardson in the final the Aussie won the first two races to clinch gold.

He was moved to tears after the event.

In race one, Richardson made the move first with Paul in pursuit. It was a tight sprint to the finish, but Richardson held on to take a 1-0 lead in the best of three final.

In race two, Richardson again positioned himself in front and with one and a half laps left went into another gear and never looked back to win it comfortably.

Earlier in the semifinals, Paul fought back to defeat Australian Matthew Glaetzer.

After Glaetzer won the first ride, Paul needed back-to-back wins to qualify for the final.

In race two, Paul took the lead with one lap left and never relinquished his advantage and won easily.

Race three had a similar outcome. Paul made his move even earlier as with one and a half laps remaining he sped away from Glaetzer and eased his way into the final.

Samuel praised Paul for his performances at the Commonwealth Games.

“As elated as any other Trinidadian…really happy for him,” Samuel said.

Paul has a strong support system said Samuel, including his parents which is an added boost for an athlete.

Samuel said Paul is showing his quality against the world’s best. “I am glad he did not have any accidents. It is not easy when you up at that level. He definitely has earned his respect as a world-rated rider consistently for the last year or two.”

Samuel has high hopes for Paul and believes he can get TT’s first cycling medal at the Olympic Games.

“My hope is to see Nicholas surpass (us) and get a medal at the Olympics. Roger (Gibbon) nor I did that. As I said Roger was fifth in the Olympics, Njisane (Phillip) and myself were fourth.”

Samuel said Paul “will be an Olympic champion soon.”

Matthew Richardson of Australia, right, TT’s Nicholas Paul compete in the men’s sprint finals during the Commonwealth Games track cycling at Lee Valley VeloPark in London, on Sunday. (AP Photo)

On the Team TTO Twitter page, Paul said, “It has been a great run for me here in London here so far. I have gotten the gold medal in the keirin and now to back it up with a silver medal in the sprint it has been a great experience for me thus far. Although it is not finished yet because tomorrow I have the km time trial.”

He said the schedule has been intense. “It has been a long day of racing today and yesterday so it is time to rest, recover and go again.”

Ministry of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, who is in England, congratulated Paul after earning the silver medal.

Paul will line up in the 1K time trial from 10.32 am TT time, on Monday.

Kwesi Browne also participated in the men’s sprint but was eliminated in the second round.

Also in cycling, Alexi Costa-Ramirez did not complete the women’s 25K points race final and in the men’s 15K scratch race qualifying Akil Campbell advanced with a tenth place finish in heat one.

In the final, Campbell did not finish.

The TT swim pair of Dylan Carter and Jeron Thompson competed in the men’s 50m backstroke.

Carter, competing in heat four, advanced after finishing fifth in 25.81 seconds to qualify for the semifinals as the 15th fastest swimmer. Thompson missed out on qualification after ending eighth in heat six in 26.93.

It is uncertain why Carter did not compete in the semifinals.

In boxing, TT super heavyweight boxer Nigel Paul defeated Jean Christophe Stephan Otendy in the round of 16. The referee stopped the contest giving Paul the victory.

In women’s beach volleyball, the TT pair of Phylecia Armstrong and Suraya Chase lost their opening pool B match to a Cyprus team 21-7, 21-17.

In netball, TT suffered a 62-28 defeat to Uganda and in triathlon the TT mixed relay team finished 11th in the field of 12 in one hour, 35 minutes and 41 seconds. The TT men’s 3×3 basketball team lost 21-12 to New Zealand in pool B action.

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