Hero’s welcome for Olympic medallist Aran Zalewski

Michael TraillAugusta Margaret River Times
Aran Zalewski with the Margaret River Primary School hockey team.
Camera IconAran Zalewski with the Margaret River Primary School hockey team. Credit: Mark Harrison

Australia’s national men’s hockey team and Tokyo Olympic silver medallists, The Kookaburras, emotionally emerged from quarantine in the heart of Perth yesterday.

Dozens of friends and family were eagerly counting down the moments the squad — who they have not seen for six weeks — were finally allowed to walk out of Hay Street’s Intercontinental Hotel following a 14-day stint in isolation.

Captain and Margaret River product Aran Zalewski jokingly said he was looking forward to “being a normal human again” after The Kookaburra’s gruelling Olympic campaign.

“It’s good to get out of quarantine, it was a really long trip, six weeks away from home,” he said.

“It’s a pretty nice moment here, all the family and friends came to greet us outside the hotel, see some familiar faces that couldn’t be apart of it over in Tokyo, but we know that they were riding us all the way home from Australia and here in Perth.”

Zalewski concede his side — which entered The Games as tournament favourites — did not return home with the medal they were chasing, after going down to Belgium in a dramatic penalty shootout following the 1-1 tied gold medal match.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails