Kochi: Hundreds of people gathered outside the Kochi airport and the roads leading to his home to see and greet Indian hockey goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh as he arrived on a short visit home after returning from the Tokyo Olympics.
Waiting outside the airport were youths lined up with hockey sticks and also present was state Sports Minister V. Abdurahiman who also got into the open jeep that was waiting for the player.
As the nearly 30 km drive from the airport to his house began, crowds had gathered at various points to greet the ‘new wall of India’, who managed to keep the Germans at bay in the hockey turf at Tokyo, enabling India to win a bronze medal – a feat that was achieved after more than four decades.
The motorcade took more than 90 minutes to reach his home where a ‘shamiana’ was erected as hundreds of people waited for hours to see the son of the soil.
The happiness of Sreejesh’s parents, his wife, and children had to be seen to be believed as amid Covid, the celebrations was inspired came from the bottom of everyone’s heart.
“I am extremely happy of what has happened… never did I imagine getting a welcome like this. I do not have words to explain my happiness,” said Sreejesh, who said he was returning later in the night to Delhi.
A former captain of the national side, Sreejesh is presently employed as the Chief Sports Organiser with the Kerala Education Department.
He presently plays for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey Indian League and in 2017 the country decorated him with a Padma Shri.