Still a work in progress: T&T cyclist Paul pleased with PanAm Games execution but eyes more improvements

By November 03, 2023
Nicholas Paul Nicholas Paul file

A series of unstoppable performances on the International Cycling Union (UCI) circuits in Canada and Germany, followed by a classy display at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina, a performance which complemented a gold medal win at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Add to that another double medal-winning performance at the Pan American (PanAm) Games in Santiago, Chile.

For many, that would more than represent a successful cycling career. But for Trinidad and Tobago's Nicholas Paul, this is only the beginning. In fact, despite his many successes to date, Paul still views his career as a work in progress, possibly because he is still hunting that one prize or moment to really define things and that is the Olympic Games dream.

Much like he did at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina where he won the Sprints and Keirin, while clocking a new track record 9.349 seconds in the flying 200m, Paul once again demonstrated his qualities as one of the best track cyclists in the world when he won gold in the final of the Men’s Sprint at the 2023 Pan American Games.

The outstanding 25-year-old out-paced his rival Jair Tjon of Suriname to top the podium, while Kevin Santiago Qunitero Chavarro of Colombia bettered Canada’s Nicholas John Wammes in the race for the bronze medal.

For Paul, the win added to his Pan Am Games title won in Lima, Peru in 2019 and he rightly expressed delight at the accomplishments.

“Firstly I would like to thank God for a safe meet. I am very pleased with my performance at this stage of the season because my preparation coming into the Pan-American Games was really good, and so I knew it was all left to my execution as the key factor which would determine how things would turnout.

“Fortunately, I executed well both in the flying 200m and the Sprints achieving some excellent results. Creating a new games record is always a special moment for me and my country,” Paul told SportsMax.tv.

The modest twin island republic cyclist returned a day later to cop a silver medal in the Men’s Keirin final.

On that occasion, Paul used his electric sprint speed in the final lap to power himself to second place, after falling behind the pack with a couple of laps remaining in the six-lap event.

The event was won by Colombia's Kevin Quintero, the reigning world champion in the event, while Mexico's Juan Ruiz Teran was third.

Paul, who has been a model of consistency throughout the season, attributed his continuous improvement and, by extension, success to the time spent in training honing his craft.

“It’s means a lot to me just to know that my hard work is paying off and I’m able to show the world that Trinidad and Tobago has a lot of talent. Like I said before, my preparations for the PanAm Games have been great and so I am pleased that I was able to accomplish all my goals to an extent,” he shared.

That said, Paul hinted at the possibility of much more to come, as he intends to continue pushing the limits and discover what he is truly able to achieve –next year’s Olympic Games in Paris being his next immediate target.

“It’s all a work in progress, my plan is to build on this performance and to do so, I intend to keep putting in those hard hours to keep getting stronger and faster. My overall goal for this year and beyond is to firstly qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games and secondly, try to win a medal or medals at the Olympic Games for Trinidad and Tobago. But for now, the focus is some much-needed rest and recovery," Paul declared.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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