As Eldhose Paul, from a remote village in Kerala's Ernakulam district took gold in triple jump at the ongoing Commonwealth Games at Birmingham on Sunday, its residents burst into joy.
A product of Kolenchery school which has brought out several world-class Kerala athletes, Paul, who is in the Indian Navy and being trained at Bengaluru, has been a medal hope for the country
Villagers of Kolanchery are celebrating his victory, by distributing sweets and bursting crackers and even took out a march with his enlarged photo.
His family and friends are planning further celebrations when he returns home from the UK.
Tom Scaria, a close friend of Paul, told media persons: "It is a great moment. I don't have words to say. It has been an arduous and tough journey for him and all his sweat and pain have fructified in this victory. He has been blessed."
The village of Nadapuram in north Kerala is also celebrating the victory of Abdulla Aboobacker, who secured silver in the same discipline, being just a mite short of Paul.
After winning an Asian Games gold, Abdulla has a road named after him in his village. His father Aboobacker, told media persons said, "We are extremely happy in Abdulla winning a silver for the country in the triple jump at the Commonwealth Games."
Nadaparam village panchayat is planning to build an athletics academy as a tribute to Abdulla in his home village.
Olympian Anju Bobby George told media persons said: "It is a historic moment and both Keralites winning the first and second places is a great achievement. Really happy and winning these medals is a result of hard work by these athletes."
She said that Paul has been performing extremely well in competitions that are taking place abroad, referring to the ninth place that he reached in the recently held World Athletic Championship in the US. George said that the exposure to the athletes at the World Championship is one of the reasons for this victory.
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