Nicholas Paul from Trinidad contributed another medal for the American continent on Tuesday, at the World Cycling Championships in Glasgow, by winning silver in the men’s sprint, only surpassed by the double Olympic champion and 12-time world titleholder, Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands).

Paul, just 24 years old, was beaten in the first two heats of the final by Lavreysen, who had better race tactics at the Chris Hoy Velodrome and won his fifth consecutive universal title, while the Trinidadian gave a important step in their aspirations to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Caribbean man holds the world speed record in the 200 meters and a silver medal in the kilometer time trial at the 2021 World Championships, but the medal in Glasgow is a historic achievement for his country, as he acknowledged to the press at term of competition.

“It’s a great happiness for me, for my family, for Trinidad and Tobago to come here and win the silver medal. I want to congratulate Harrie. He was the best rider of the day. I’m happy with the silver medal.” Paul said.

“It was a great feeling to be able to compete at this level in a year where I came back from injury, so to go out and discuss the title with Harrie was a great achievement for me. That’s the motivation,” he said.

Nicholas Paul was the last man to beat Lavreysen in a sprint meet, which he did in Cali, Colombia, during the UCI leg of the Nations Cup series in 2021.

The sprinter’s streak of results has put Trinidad and Tobago on a firm footing in qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, where the medal – preferably gold – is the number one goal.

“I’ve been working. And I’ve seen it paid off too, we just have to keep progressing until the Olympics. I don’t think about Harrie’s dominance. He’s a great driver, but I’ll work very hard to try and win the race in Paris. I don’t look at the achievements. I look at the race,” he commented.

In Glasgow, Paul defeated Lavreysen’s Olympic sprint partner Jeffrey Hoogland to proceed to the semifinal round. He then deftly dispatched Poland’s Mateusz Rudyk to face Lavreysen in the final.

It would be easy for any runner to feel intimidated going against a runner with the Dutchman’s record, but Paul is not that easily intimidated. “Harrie is a great athlete. He has set the bar very high. And for us as sprint athletes, we have to get there and try to compete with him as well as possible. We just have to keep working.”

Nicholas Paul was just 19 years old when he set the world record at the 2019 Pan American Championships and has been steadily climbing the sprint rankings. After his silver medal in the kilometer time trial in 2021, he won the individual sprint at the Nations Cup in Cali in 2022, doing the unthinkable and beating Lavreysen over two rounds to win.