Trinidad & Tobago rolled out a red, black and white carpet to welcome teenaged, javelin Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott who brought gold and glory to the republic.
At Piarco Airport in the twin-island capital of Port-Of-Spain, thousands greeted the only athlete from the English Caribbean to win the event in 60 years.
His victory also marked the first Olympic gold for the republic in 36 years.
For his triumph, the 19-year-old was promised two and a half million TT dollars (US$390,000), a luxury home, acres of land, scholarship to university, a lighthouse and his name inscribed on one of the planes flown by Caribbean Airlines, the nation’s national carrier.
“Keshorn, each of these rewards honor you, there is nothing greater than the glory you have brought to this nation and no greater expression ever than the pride and gratitude every citizen feels,” Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar said.
She said the gifts represented gratitude for “bringing pride and recognition to the nation of Trinidad and Tobago.”
One day after declaring a national holiday to celebrate the victory, the leader addressed a crowd gathered at the airport to welcome the athletes saying:”A Caribbean Airlines aircraft will be commissioned to bear the proud name of Keshorn Walcott.”
According to reports, the athlete gushed with pride and appeared emotional when the leader of the republic added that “The lighthouse a historical site, will now be known as the Keshorn Walcott Lighthouse standing as a beacon to guide us all towards what it takes to get to our dreams.”
The windfall also piled high, one million dollars “to be invested as he so desires.”
Walcott will also be given 20,000 square feet in his home village of Toco which is located, south of the capital.
There, a housing project called “The Keshorn Walcott Housing Development” will be established to provide housing and employment to residents of Toco.
In an emotional response, Walcott said; “I went out there and did my best.”
He praised God, his coach, manager and everyone for his success.
“I was proud to carry the flag of Trinidad and Tobago,” the athletic hero said.
“I would like to say thanks to everybody who supported me.”
“Thanks to everyone for all the support and thanks to mum and dad, my brothers and sister.”
The teenager returned home Tuesday with the 10-member contingent which earned a record four medals overall at the London Olympics.
It was the republic’s biggest haul in the country’s history.
Walcott’s achievement headlined T&T’s performance, however, as he pulled off a stunning upset to become the first athlete from the English-speaking Caribbean to win gold in a javelin event and the first in 60 years from the Western Hemisphere.
She said Walcott — the youngest-ever gold medal winner of the javelin in Olympic history — will also be awarded a scholarship to the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) “ to further his studies in his chosen field” while his coach Lopez will be placed in charge of an elite throws program at UTT where all future talent, will be able to develop in field events.
The men’s sprint relay team took bronze after Canada was disqualified for lane crossing.
The relay team and Lalonde Gordon in the 400 metres also returned home with bronze medallions.
Walcott’s achievement represented T&T’s second-ever Olympic gold medal behind the legendary Hasely Crawford who won the 100 metres at the 1976 Montreal Games.
He threw the javelin 227.51 feet to clinch the first ever gold in that event for the region in Olympic history.
He is the youngest and first non-European to win the men’s javelin since 1952.
The prime minister said that gifts for the other Olympians would be announced later.