Briton David Roberts had the grand honor of standing atop a Paralympic podium for the 10th time Thursday evening.
Briton David Roberts gestures after winning gold in the men`s 400m freestyle S7 in a record time of 4 min 52.35 sec at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing on September 11, 2008. [China Daily]
After winning gold in the men`s 400m freestyle S7 in a record time of 4 min 52.35 sec, the 28-year-old could barely contain his excitement.
"I am delighted. It`s beyond my wildest dreams to win 10 gold, and the one I got tonight is the most special medal so far," Roberts said.
"It`s all about proving myself, and I don`t want to let anyone down," he added.
Roberts had already bagged two gold in Beijing, adding to the three and four he pocketed in Sydney and Athens respectively.
Thousands of spectators at the Water Cube watched him lead the entire race and cheered him on to a record-breaking performance.
"It`s unbelievable to race in front of 17,000 crazy people cheering in the stands, and I guess the world record goes to the crowd," Roberts said.
Swimming gradually became a lifestyle for the Welsh cerebral palsy sufferer after first serving as physiotherapy.
David Roberts of Britain swims in the men`s 400m freestyle S7 during the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing on September 11, 2008. Roberts won with a new world record of 4:52.35. [Agencies]
"As the disease affected my coordination and flexibility, my doctor suggested I take up swimming in order to keep my body from getting stiff," he said.
Roberts swam in a local swimming club for people with disabilities each Sunday before representing Wales at age 14.
Five years later, his swimming career took off when he represented Great Britain at the European Championships, where he won four gold medals.
From then on, he has won numerous World Championship titles.
"Swimming is a life-changing experience for me, which opened my mind and took me around the world," he said.
"I am lucky to have swimming in my life."