Walcott receives hero’s welcome in Trinidad

Trinidad's Keshorn Walcott celebrates winning gold in the men's javelin throw final during the athletics in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. /AP Photo/David J. Phillip

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad — Olympic gold medalist Keshorn Walcott didn’t just return to a hero’s welcome in his Caribbean homeland of Trinidad & Tobago. He was also promised a check for about $155,000, a luxury home and roughly 20,000 square feet of land near his hometown.

Oh, and a lighthouse and a Caribbean Airlines plane will be named after the 19-year-old javelin champion, too.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar lavished Walcott with gifts and praise on Monday at Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport, where a few thousand revelers dressed in the national colors of red, black and white greeted the young athlete.

Monday was named a national holiday in honor of Walcott, who won the Olympic javelin title with a throw of 277 feet, 6 inches.

Walcott’s victory was Trinidad’s first Olympic gold in a field event and its second overall. The first one was notched 36 years ago at the Montreal Olympics when Hasley Crawford dominated the 100 meter dash.

“On behalf of the people of Trinidad & Tobago, we thank you, Keshorn, and may the Lord continue to bless you,” Persad-Bissessar shouted into a microphone, trying to get her voice above the crowd’s chanting of “Keshorn!”

Walcott, who is from the tiny Trinidadian farming village of Toco, looked slightly stunned by the outpouring of gratitude from his countrymen.

“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,” said Walcott, who was the world junior champion in javelin before his big weekend win at the London Olympics.

— Associated Press