The Guatemalan congress on Thursday bestowed the Order of the Sovereign Congress in the grade of Gran Caballero upon athlete Erick Barrondo, who won the silver medal in the 20-kilometer walk at the 2012 London Olympics.

Congressional speaker Gudy Rivera, after presenting the award to the racewalker, expressed his gratitude for the efforts Guatemala's other athletes who participated in London made to enhance the name of the Central American country.

Barrondo's Olympic medal is the first a Guatemalan athlete has won in the international Games. The Central American country first participated in the Olympics in the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

The 21-year-old racewalker said he felt honored by the recognition and emphasized that "our entire delegation of Olympic athletes marched in London with the pride of being Guatemalans."

"We put on the blue and white jersey to join together with pride and to show what Guatemala can do," he said in an emotional speech.

Barrondo also received a cash award of $62,500 from the Congress, an amount similar to that which on Wednesday was given to him by Guatemala's Autonomous Sports Confederation.

On Aug. 13, the athlete was welcomed as a hero by thousands of his fellow countrymen who turned out on the streets to greet him on his return from London. EFE