Drum beats resounded in the air as an atmosphere of celebration enveloped the Tiruchi international airport on Sunday evening. Sports enthusiasts and well-wishers were seen waiting eagerly for the arrival of ‘daughter of the soil’ Gomathi Marimuthu, gold medal winner in the 800 meter event at the recently-concluded Asian Athletics Championship in Doha.
A good number of youngsters in the crowd gathered in front of the VIP lounge held out placards containing messages welcoming the athlete, and eulogising her achievement. People from Ms. Gomathi’s native village in Mudikandam were seen elbowing their way forward in the crowd, to receive the athlete who had made their village proud.
The moment Ms. Gomathi came out, the crowd erupted into loud cheers and the applause got louder when she waved her hands to the gathering. The cameras flashed endlessly even as she kept receiving bouquets from her legion of new fans. “I am proud about my achievement and overwhelmed by the reception,” she said.
“My next aim is to perform well in the World Athletics Championship later this year,” Ms. Gomathi, an employee of Income Tax Department, Bengaluru, added.
Collector S. Sivarasu honoured the athlete at the airport by presenting her with a shawl.