By Dante Padmore
On September 10, Akil Campbell won gold in the Men’s Elimination Race at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Track Cycling Nations Cup. This ranked him as the 3rd among the world’s Eliminations Riders. It is no small task for this simple Catholic youth from Pleasantville.
This full-time cyclist said prior to Covid 19 lockdown last year, he could often be found most Sunday mornings at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH)San Fernando. This makes him one of the rare Catholic males who did not graduate outside of the Church after Confirmation.
If you want to make Akil happy you can cook him some good wild meat, play Dancehall or Soca music, or just talk about cars! While at secondary school, he represented his school in athletics and he loved to play cricket. Akil’s history of being in the winning circle goes back to 2012 when he placed 3rd in the Sugar and Energy ride. His dream for the future is to be like his younger sister Teniel Campbell and to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympics.
Before Akil was ranked as third on the world stage, this twenty-five-year-old was the recipient of over 17 gold, silver and bronze medals from over 40 international and qualifying cycling meets. He has already travelled all over the Caribbean, South America and the United States to represent Trinidad and Tobago in cycling. Akil gives thanks to God, his mother and his family for all his success to date and says his family has been his greatest supporters.
But on September 10, while participating at the UCI Elimination Race, he fell. It was so bad that his bike was broken, his leg was injured, and his uniform ripped. In spite of that, he still managed to place first and win the gold medal at the end of that race. While Trinidad and Tobago rejoiced in the victory, Akil was still left without a bike, which of course is required for him to reach the goal of being number one.
As we get ready for Republic Day 2021, I want to salute this role model to young Catholics everywhere—Akil Campbell.
Information was sourced from the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation Facebook Page.