March 11, 2013
Brilliant young Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias is the winner of the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award after winning six individual gold medals in the London Paralympic Games, all in world record times.
It is the second time Dias has won the Award. He last received it four years ago after an equally impressive performance in the Beijing Paralympics, when he won four gold medals, four silver and a bronze.
Still just 24, Dias set the pool on fire in London and he will be one of the home favourites to win more gold medals when the 2016 Paralympic Games are held in Rio.
He was presented with the world’s most prestigious Award in disability sport from Laureus Ambassador Ruud Gullit at the globally televised Awards Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
Ruud Gullit said: “Winning six gold medals and breaking a world record each time at the London Paralympics is simply out of this world. It puts Daniel right up there with the greatest sportsman in history.”
Daniel Dias, overcome with emotion, said: “Firstly I want to thank you, Ruud Gullit, for your kind words. I want to thank God, I want to thank my parents who always gave me incentive and support. And thanks to my wife and my sponsors. It is difficult for me to express my emotions, but I can say I still have a lot more to give.”
Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: “I offer Daniel my most sincere congratulations on winning his second Laureus Award. His record is absolutely phenomenal. His success in Beijing was exceptional and then he followed that up in London. It is amazing to think what he may be able to achieve in the future. All of Brazil should be proud of this remarkable young man. I would also like to congratulate him on the great work he does in Brazil to promote disability sport.”
And Laureus World Sports Academy Member and Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz said: “Daniel is a great inspiration for the Paralympics and for swimming, for that matter. It’s quite incredible what the Paralympics does for athletes.”