30 Apr 2007

Dave Roberts proudly shows his Paralympic gold medal in AthensDAVE ROBERTS

DOB: 20/05/80

Club: Swim Swansea

Born: Pontypridd

Lives: Pontypridd

Disability: Cerebral Palsy

Coach: Billy Pye

Class: S7 (SB7, SM7)

Dave Roberts took up swimming as part of his physiotherapy after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 years old. By 14 he had been selected for Wales and represented Great Britain at 19 in the European Championships, winning all four of his events.

His Paralympic dreams came true in 2000 at Sydney, winning three golds, three silvers and a bronze, but it was in Athens 2004 where his burgeoning potential was fully realised, with four gold medal swims, one silver and two world records.

At times Paralympic swimming hero David Roberts must look at his medal cabinet and wonder how to make space for his next haul. Adjustments had to be made as the Pontypridd star, then only 24 years old, was awarded an MBE by the Queen – an honour that will surely take pride of place among his glittering golds.

2006 saw Roberts represent his home country, Wales, at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne - something that does not occur very often on the world stage. He excelled in the 100m multi-disability race, where although he was only 0.02 away from his own World Record, he snatched bronze from the Aussie Swimmer, Ben Austin.

He finished the year in a flourish at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa, returning with six medals; four gold, a silver and a bronze. On top of that he was part of the men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay team who smashed the world record, and went on to set a new European Record in the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay.

He’s now back in intensive training at the Wales National Pool in Swansea, under the control of the High Performance Centre Coach, Billy Pye.