It was a classic case of a country boy defying the odds to be world acclaim.
Nicholas Paul's achievement of the world record in the flying 200 metres event at the just concluded Elite Pan American Continental Championships in Bolivia last week has earned him and the members of the T&T cycling team- Quincy Alexander, Keron Bramble and Kwesi Browne, a trip to the Brian Lara Promenade in Port-of-Spain on Friday where they were celebrated.
Paul, for his record of 9.100 earned him congratulatory messages from several world-renowned sportsmen, American Marty Nothstein, Shane Kelly of Australia and T&T batting genius Brian Lara, among others, as well as a plaque from the Port-of-Spain City Corporation and its Mayor Joel Martinez.
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe said the government, in line with its reward and incentive programme, will ensure that successful cyclists from the Pan Am will receive their cash incentives at a later date.
Apart from Paul's world record performance, which eventually led to the gold medal in the match sprint event in a new Pan Am record, the sprint team also claimed gold in the opening event, finished just outside the world record.
Bramble also produced a break-through performance in the keirin event which saw just missing out on a medal.
Minister Cudjoe told the gathering she was given just two minutes to be at the event, but she lauded the riders for their achievements, describing it as an outstanding accomplishment. She noted it was through the achievements of our sportsmen and women that our twin-island Republic became known around the world.
According to Cudjoe, the athletes are a reminder to all of us, that we must do our bit to make T&T proud. She singled Paul for his commitment and dedication at such a young age, to break a world record and make the country proud.
Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez said not every day you go out and break a world record, but they had another champion in their midst. "It takes the pain, it takes determination, it takes endurance, it takes skill, it takes family life, the people in your village, the people in your community, the people in your country, it takes everybody to bring home a medal or a world record for a country as small as T&T. Aren't we an impressive people?