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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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T&T's Nicholas Paul, Njisane Phillip and Keron Bram­ble cap­tured the gold medal in the fi­nal of the Team men's sprint event at the Pan Amer­i­can Games in Li­ma, Pe­ru on Thurs­day night.

The na­tion­al team un­der the guid­ance of na­tion­al cy­cling tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Erin Hartwell clocked 43.792 sec­onds to earn T&T its first gold medal of the Games and sec­ond over­all, thanks to a bronze from box­er Michael Alexan­der in the men's light wel­ter­weight class on Tues­day night.

Paul and Phillip held on to the na­tion­al flag with Bram­ble in their vic­to­ry lap as the T&T sup­port­ers which in­clud­ed T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Bri­an Lewis cheered un­con­trol­lably.

This af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the gold medal race whip­ping Co­lum­bia (44.584) to reach the top of the podi­um. Bram­ble clocked 17.938 in lap one (250m), Phillip pro­duced 12.655 for the sec­ond lap and Paul, 13.379 in the third.

Ear­li­er, the na­tion­al cy­clists knew ful­ly well what was re­quired to get in­to the gold medal race as they were the last team on the track in the three-lap event. Know­ing this, Hartwell kept his rid­ers warm by hav­ing the or­gan­is­ers place an ex­tra gas warmer in­side the lo­cal team's pit. Warm­ers in­fil­trat­ed the area to en­sure that cy­clists were com­fort­able with­in the Velo­drome which is very cold.

T&T was the fastest qual­i­fiers with a time of 44.260 sec­onds. Browne com­plet­ed the first lap in 17.990, Phillip was the quick­est in lap two with 12.885 and Paul with 13.385 in lap three as Hartwell with both arms out­stretched pump­ing them in­wards to en­cour­age his rid­er across the like in the fastest qual­i­fy­ing time over­all. The 10 or so sup­port­ers hoist­ing the na­tion­al flag jumped up from their seats in the stands over­joyed with the per­for­mance of the rid­ers.

The oth­er fi­nal­ist, Co­lum­bia, had in the pre­vi­ous race crossed the line in 45.046 to elim­i­nate Mex­i­co (45.843) and Pe­ru (49.939) from the gold medal race. Brazil, with its 45.279 clock­ings, was keep­ing hope that it holds on to the oth­er qual­i­fy­ing spot un­til the T&T team erased that dream. The Brazil­ians ear­li­er raced Mex­i­co in the bronze medal match and were vic­to­ri­ous af­ter their op­po­nents false-start­ed twice.

Phillip and Paul will have lit­tle re­cov­ery time as they are back at the track to­day to race in the men's sprint event from 12.05 pm. Phillip holds the meet record of 9.977, achieved in Guadala­jara, Mex­i­co in 2011.

Ak­il Camp­bell was in ninth place in the men's om­ni­um at press time.

His strat­e­gy in the scratch race worked rel­a­tive­ly well, earn­ing him 24 points in the 10km (40 laps) race. Camp­bell placed ninth of the 14 rid­ers in a race won by Mex­i­can Igna­cios Pra­da who at 20-lap took an un­reach­able lead and earned full 40 points.

In the fol­low­ing tem­po race, Camp­bell moved up one spot in­to eighth af­ter earn­ing 30 points with his sixth-place fin­ish. Venezuela's Ramiro Pul­gar moved ahead of the pack but af­ter four laps the T&T cy­clist caught up with him to pro­duce his first point of the race. He stayed with the Venezue­lan rid­er and topped five laps (6,7,10,12,14) and at the end of the 36-lap race, had 54 over­all points.

Tak­ing the event was Amer­i­can Daniel Hol­loway and the over­all lead with 76 points.

In the elim­i­na­tion race, Camp­bell was the six-rid­er out of the run­ning for the top spot which pro­vid­ed win­ner Fe­lipe Pe­naloza of Chile with full 40 points to move to the top of the 14-rid­er stand­ings. Camp­bell earned 24 points to have 78 points af­ter the three races but slipped back down to the ninth place with on­ly the points race re­main­ing.

In hock­ey

T&T men's hock­ey team sank to its sec­ond straight de­feat in the pre­lim­i­nary round in Pool A, falling to Ar­genti­na, 6-0.

It could have been worse for the lo­cal "Stick­men" but goal­keep­er Kar­los Stephens pulled off some mar­vel­lous saves which pre­vent­ed to­tal an­ni­hi­la­tion. Stephens pro­duced six saves (two penal­ty cor­ners and four field goals) be­tween the up­rights.

The na­tion­al unit trailed 3-0 at the half with Jose Toli­ni (1.57) scor­ing the lone goal of the first quar­ter while in the sec­ond pe­ri­od, Agustin Mazz­il­li (24.49) and En­rique Pa­rades (28.44) net­ted the sec­ond and third, re­spec­tive­ly to give Ar­genti­na the three-goal ad­van­tage.

Down the oth­er end, Ar­genti­na's keep­er Juan Vi­val­di had lit­tle work to do as T&T was not get­ting scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and re­mained goal­less in­to the third ses­sion while the Ar­gen­tini­ans added two more goals off of Maico Casel­la (40.33) and Mazz­il­li with his sec­ond item in 44.40, to go up, 5-0.

In the fi­nal pe­ri­od, Lu­cas Mar­tinez in 48.22 gives his team a big­ger lead, 6-0. T&T, coached by Glenn "Fi­do" Fran­cis" did get a chance at a con­so­la­tion goal but its lone penal­ty cor­ner tak­en by vet­er­an Kwand­wane Browne in 49.41 was saved by keep­er Vi­val­di.

On Sat­ur­day, the hock­ey men will seek re­demp­tion when they try to take down Chile in their fi­nal match in the pre­lim­i­nar­ies from 11 am (T&T time). Chile crushed Cu­ba, 4-0 in yes­ter­day's oth­er Pool A match.

In shoot­ing

Roger Daniel did not make the fi­nal cut to com­pete in the fi­nal of the men's 25-me­tre rapid fire pis­tol event af­ter he placed 18th over­all fol­low­ing stage two of the qual­i­fi­ca­tion round at the Las Pal­mas Range.

The lo­cal shoot­er end­ed with a score of 538, en­ter­ing the sec­ond stage in 19th place with a score of 271 from stage one. On Thurs­day morn­ing, he scored 267 to add to his to­tal to fin­ish down the or­der in an event which had 23 par­tic­i­pants. On­ly the top six shoot­ers ad­vanced to the fi­nal round.

Fri­day's T&T sched­ule

Cy­cling

Men's Sprint qual­i­fy­ing - Njisane Phillip, Nicholas Paul, 12.05

Shoot­ing

Women's 25m rapid fire pis­tol (pre­ci­sion), Mar­sha Bullen-Jones, 10 am

Men's skeet - Robert Auer­bach, 10 am

Source