After bringing laurels to the country in the just-concluded Rio Paralympics,”Golden Boy” T.Mariappan who created history by winning a gold medal for High jump,was warmly received and greeted at his village Periavadagampatti which hails 40 kilometres away from Salem,on saturday.
Mariappan had arrived in Chennai on Friday but travelled to his village via road.V.Sampath,District Collector along with a host of senior officials received the Gold medallist at the Thoppur check-post on the Salem-Bengaluru national highway.He was presented by a shawl and bouquet lauding his achievement by the Collector.Mariappan’s mother Saroja proudly gave her son a warm hug when he got down from the car.A moved Saroja said she had faith in her son and that he had not failed her.
At a town named Teevattipatti on the National Highway,hundreds of men,women and children gave Mariappan a warm reception by surrounding his vehicle and raising slogans celebrating his win.Amongst the crowd the youth were the most enthusiastic such that the police found it difficult to disperse the crowd.
Mariappan was then led into a van by the police.
Atop the van,Mariappan waved to the crowds holding a bunch of the Indian National flags.He was taken to Periavadagampatti in a procession.People from nearby villages,his friends,relatives,family and fans followed his van in their vehicles.
Brief stops were made at villages along the route where people in large numbers lined up on both the sides of the road and took selfies with Mariappan.On reaching Periavadagampatti a little over an hour,more than 3,000 people and people from surrounding villages greeted him.The local people especially the women were enthusiastic and were waiting to catch a glimpse of their hero.
The village had a festive look with large Banners and Flex-boards displaying the portraits of Mariappan in every corner.