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Commonwealth bid is a family affair for Paul
PAUL Oldham is hoping to end the summer on a high at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But for now he is sharing top family billing with his young son.
Oldham, who competes in the UCI World Cup Cross Country in the Czech Republic today aiming to further boost his chances of securing what is likely to be one of three spots in England’s team for the summer games.
That would be his first major championship and it is an opportunity he is determined not to miss out on.
But the Colne star is facing competition from his own six-year-old son, who joined his dad on the winner’s podium at a national series event in Cornwall.
“I won and that was a great result for me as it is the first national victory in 21 years so it was an encouraging result,” said 36-year-old Oldham who knows this year is his last shot at the Commonwealth Games.
“But my lad won as well in one of the junior races so it was a good day all round.
“He really enjoys it and he’s obviously picked up a little bit off me. He really enjoys racing and he loves it.”
For Oldham senior there are tougher tests to come, starting with the European double header in the World Cup.
After this weekend’s test in Nove Mesto na Morave he travels to Albstadt, Germany seven days from now hoping to build on his performance in the opening round in South Africa where he was the leading Brit and finished in 41st place.
“Hopefully we can match that,” said Oldham who is ranked 210th in the world, a misleading figure given the number of events he competes in. “It is a really tough field and the overall is not something we are targeting as the costs involved in travelling to the events are huge so we have already missed a round in Australia.
“We are driving out to the Czech Republic which is cheaper but it also means we can be in control of all our kit and equipment.
“I want to keep pushing and trying to be the top Brit home. Hopefully that will do enough to ensure I get selected to go to Glasgow which the whole season is built around really.
“My form is good and it shows that everything is going in the right direction.
“If I can get a good result this weekend then I can hopefully take it into the next meeting in Germany.”
After his week of travelling around Europe, Paul will return to these shores, where he works at his Hope Techonology team headquarters in Barnoldswick, to face a nervous wait for news of the England squad selection.
“I think we should find out on June 4,” added Oldham. “All I can do is keep racing and trying my best, There is a lot of criteria but at the end of all that the selectors can use their discression so it is definitely in their hands and not mine, “It would be great to go there. I have been to international cross country events before but the Commonwealth Games will be something else.
“There are obviously all the other sports there and it is a global event. It will be the biggest thing I have ever been to so hopefully I will get in the squad.”
Should he make it in the team that travels north of the border, Oldham is hopeful that his family will be able to come and watch him compete – but they were beset by the problems which have blighted tickets.
“We were trying to get some so that worse case scenario we can go and watch it. Hopefully I will be there and then it would be nice for my family to come and watch me as it is in the UK.”
Paul has been competing for more than 20 years since beginning in the early 1990s and fell in love with the off-road competitions early on.
He has also competed on the road in the Tour Series and can more than hold his own in Mountain Bike races as demonstrated by his stellar season in the national series last year, But for the Colne native he is just happy to be out on the course in a sport that is progressing further than he could have imagined.
“Cycling is on the up at the moment and I would say it is nearly cool. It’s not so much about cross country and more about the road and the track at the moment but when that is going well then the sport is doing well and so everybody wins really. It is certainly getting a lot of exposure.
“It’s not a bad sport is it?”
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