News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Tues. Aug. 14, 2012: Carnival came early to the oil rich nation of Trinidad and Tobago as thousands showed up Monday to help roll out a red carpet of love at the Piarco International Airport, for its lone 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
Keshorn Walcott, 19, was welcomed back by thousands, just days after he struck gold in London in the men’s javelin finals, with a throw of 84.58 meters. The favorite of the event, Oleksandr Pyatnytsya of Ukraine, had to settle for second place as Walcott walked into history as the youngest man to ever achieve such a feat.
Caribbean Airlines, the regional carrier, said a plane will be named after the champion.
“On behalf of the people of Trinidad & Tobago, we thank you, Keshorn, and may the Lord continue to bless you,” T&T’s Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar said, hours after declaring a national holiday in honor of the champ.
“I was proud to carry the flag of T&T and thanks to everyone for all the support and thanks to Mum and Dad, my brothers and sister,” commented Walcott, who was the world junior champion in javelin before his big weekend win at the London Olympics.
Walcott, from the tiny village of Toco, Trinidad, was also promised a check for about TT$1,000,000, a luxury home in Federation Park valued at TT$2.5 million and roughly 20,000 square feet or four lots of land of land near his hometown. The Lighthouse, a historical site in Toco, is also set to be renamed the Keshorn Walcott Lighthouse.
A housing project to be called the Keshorn Walcott Housing Development will be established. This development will bring housing and employment to Toco, the PM also said.
Drumming and thousands dressed in the national colors of red, black and white greeted the young athlete back to T&T, a stark difference from when he left.
Walcott’s coach Ismael Lopez was also honored yesterday.
PM Persad-Bissessar yesterday said that “Lopez will be placed in charge of an elite throws program at UTT where all future talent including Keshorn can be developed in field events.”
The last time Trinidad and Tobago achieved a gold medal was 36 years ago at the Olympic Games in Montreal,Canada in 1976 when sprinter Hasely Crawford won the men’s 100 metres final.