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Heroes’ welcome today for T&T’s Olympians
Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott will be given a hero’s welcome when he arrives at Piarco Airport at 9.45 am today. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other government officials including Sport Minister Anil Roberts will be at the airport to welcome Walcott and seven other local athletes who will be arriving on Caribbean Airlines BW903 from Gatwick, London.
Walcott’s arrival is expected to attract hundreds of jubilant fans and well-wishers against a backdrop of steelband and tassa music and dances by local entertainers. Persad-Bissessar and Roberts will address the crowd from the airport’s atrium in the presence of the athletes. This is expected to last 45 minutes. They will then go to the airport’s VIP lounge where a press conference will be held, followed by a reception for the athletes.
The 19-year-old Walcott emerged victorious in the men’s javelin event, hurling the spear 84.58 metres in the second round. Walcott’s win represents T&T’s second gold medal in 36 years. Roberts who said yesterday he was still “beaming” over the young man’s success, added that the gold medal win would also help to further market the country. “I am indeed delighted to welcome home members of our most successful Olympic team,” he said.
“If they have not yet grasped the magnitude of their achievements, I am certain these young, brave athletes will appreciate the warm reception they are due to receive. We wish them safe travel and eagerly anticipate their return home.” At Walcott’s home yesterday at Trois Roche Village, there was a steady stream of family, friends, teachers and neighbours who have been celebrating his success since he won gold.
It was a victory which they proudly claimed as their “Toco joy.” Villagers also gathered on the roadway outside the house. With beer bottles in hand, they formed clusters and fondly recounted how they “know Keshorn from small.” Walcott’s excited parents, who were still basking in their son’s glory, were still undecided how they would privately honour him. “His father and I haven’t decided how we are going to celebrate with him as yet...After all this has quieted down, I will have to decide exactly what we will do,” Walcott’s mother Beverly said.
Beverly, who could barely contain her joy, described her son as humble but one who was always determined to succeed. “I am happy and I am excited. I feel great, I still can’t believe it,” Beverly said. Her son’s victory, however, was not expected.
“It was something I never expected but I was hoping all the way and I was praying that he would make the first eight...and he did it,” she added. Walcott’s father Endy King was equally astounded.
Recounting his son’s childhood days, King said Walcott was always determined and strove for excellence. He also thanked the teachers at Toco Composite School for providing his son with a holistic education. The American Chamber of Commerce of T&T also congratulated Walcott yesterday, saying the young man was an inspiration to youths.
Athletes arriving today:
Keshorn Walcott—men’s javelin
Njisane Philip—men’s cycling sprint
Roger Daniel—men’s 100-metre air pistol
Mikel Thomas—men’s 110-metre hurdles
Machel Cedenio—men’s 4 X 400
Ade Alleyne-Forte—men’s 4X 400 relay
Michelle-Lee Ahye—women’s 100-metre; women’s 4X 100 relay
Reyare Thomas—Women’s 4X 100 relay
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