LONDON, UK – Trinidad and Tobago claimed their first cycling medal at a Commonwealth Games in over half half-a-century when Nicholas Paul snatched gold in the keirin here Saturday.
The 23-year-old, the reigning Pan American champion who also won silver at the World Championship last year, unleashed a turn of speed with a lap to go and was without a challenger as he crossed the line at the Lee Valley VeloPark.
Scotland’s Jack Carlin finished with silver while Malaysia’s Shah Sahrom produced a strong finish to end with bronze.
Paul’s success meant it was the first time Trinidad and Tobago topped the podium at the Games since Roger Gibbon’s feat in 1966.
“I have had some big results but this is one to remember for sure,” said Paul, who celebrated with his country’s flag following his historic triumph.
“To be able to race in London again, go to my second Commonwealth Games and to earn a gold medal is unbelievable. I am happy with my performance.”
“It means a lot to Trinidad and cycling as a whole there. Cycling has been growing over the years and I’m happy to be able to come here and set the trend even higher.”
Paul entered the final as favorite and was partnered by fellow countryman Kwesi Browne, with Australian Matthew Richardson, and New Zealand’s Callum Saunders completing the six-man field.
Carlin led off behind the derny with Paul on the wheel of the Scot, Browne in third, Sahrom stalking and Richardson and Saunders bringing up the rear.
With three laps to go and with the derny exiting, Saunders stormed to the front to lead from Carlin but Paul made his decisive move on the penultimate lap and when the bell came moments later, he had already established a four-length lead.
He then whizzed through the final lap with Carlin pulling the field in pursuit but the Trinidadian never wavered, and had further extended his advantage at the line.