Rowena Williams, president of the T&T Cycling Federation (TTCF) saluted the effort of the T&T cycling team at the just concluded Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championship in Lima, Peru, at the Villa Deportivan Nacional Velodrome on Sunday.
The T&T team of Nicholas Paul, Zion Pulido, Kwesi Browne, Quincy Alexander, Akil Campbell, Teniel Campell, Sylese Christian, and Alexi Costa-Ramirez returned home with four gold medals, one silver, and two bronze medals.
Leading the way for T&T was Commonwealth Games triple-medal winner (gold, silver, and bronze), 23-year-old Paul who rode his way to three gold medals, the men’s match sprint, keirin, and the team sprint event with national teammates Kwesi Browne and Zion Pulido while two-time women’s national Road Race champion Teniel Campbell pedalled her way to a gold medal in the women’s Point Race.
The 24-year-old Teniel Campbell also added a silver in the women’s Individual Pursuit event behind Canada’s Adele Desagnes on Wednesday while Canadian Ruby West ended with bronze, and she secured the bronze medal in the women’s Elimination Race behind Van Dam and Mexican Yareli Acevedo on Thursday.
Her brother Akil Campbell, 26, won a bronze in the men’s Scratch 15km (60 laps) race, with USA’s Grant Koontz taking gold while Canadian Dylan Bibic took silver.
Commenting on the team’s performances, Williams first congratulated the entire contingent for the excellent performances they displayed coming out of the championships.
She added, “Coming off of a very successful Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Paul had been at his peak and we could not have asked for more than what we saw from him again in Peru coming home with three gold medals.
“This was an excellent achievement by him (Paul), and of course, it puts him in a very good position heading into next year’s Pan American Games and Olympic Qualifiers, barring he stays injury free.”
“The overall performances definitely puts our cyclist in a great position as we go into 2023 and I would to give a special congratulations to Teniel Campbell for her performances on the track.
“Teniel hasn’t ridden on track for over two years being a professional road cyclist and coming from the road on to track and displaying such excellence and being able to capture gold in the women’s individual pursuit, and a silver and bronze medal as well she really deserves to be recognised as one of our top women’s cyclist in T&T,” stated Williams.
Williams was also full of praise for the match sprint who she noted was not even in training together saying, “The match sprint team of Paul, Browne, and Pulido weren’t training together but because of their excellent individual abilities they were able to go out there and execute to the highest level and capture the gold medal in their event.”
“And Akil Campbell through his performances as well continues to prove his worth as an endurance cyclist on the track and he too has been doing an excellent job and was able to bring home a medal and has been very consistent from 2021 into 2022.
Looking ahead, Williams said she along with the T&TFC will definitely be looking forward to much more excellent performances from the cyclists at the upcoming Pan Am Games and Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
“We see these events as being major parts of their preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France where we will looking to have a bigger team”
However, Williams made it clear that the federation cannot do it on its own as it takes a lot financially to get the cyclist ready.
“So we want to ask corporate T&T to come on board with the T&TCF and help us to be able to fund these cyclists so they can participate in these critical events and competitions to help advance their careers as well, so they can keep the flag flying high for the country, “ said Williams.
Meanwhile, Campbell wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday night, “Largest medal haul history with 4 gold, 1 silver and two bronze. In life, challenges will always present itself and I came here not knowing what to expect. I also never underestimate anyone as I know I was once a ‘hungry underdog’. However, I managed to stand on each step of the podium and walk away with three medals ( 3-2-1).”
She added, “Never felt so mentally and physically drained but somehow by the grace of God I managed to find a way to push through. I didn’t achieve my main goal in securing the automatic spot for world championships in the Individual Pursuit which was super disappointing but I managed to get the spot for the points race instead. That’s how it be sometimes and I just gotta roll with it.”