Coach Nominated for Award

By Rhys Roberts - March 18 2008
Coach Nominated for Award

Dragons DSC Assistant coach David Roberts MBE has been nominated for Cardiff University People’s Fellowship.

Here is the story from the South Wales Echo, printed on the icwales website:

Looking for that someone special

THE Echo is looking for a special member of the community to be bestowed with the great honour of a Cardiff University People’s Fellowship.

Paralympic swimmer David Roberts has clocked up dozens of medals throughout his sporting life, but this is not the reason he was nominated for the prestigious award.

Mr Roberts, 27, of Cardiff city centre, has stayed true to his roots and works tirelessly to help disabled children achieve their dreams. He coaches children at the Dragons Disabled Swimming Club, in Caerphilly, which was set up 11 years ago by his parents.

The nomination came from fellow coach Ian Eke, 42, whose two children are coached by Mr Roberts. He said: “The one thing that makes David different and deserving of this award is that he has never forgotten where it all began.

“Every opportunity that David has he comes down to the pool and helps some of our swimmers realise that they too have the potential to be the best. We have a varied group of swimmers, some with physical disabilities, some with learning disabilities, but they all have one thing in common and that’s that special look on their face when David walks out on the poolside.

“The children have such an admiration for David who knows each and every swimmer by name, exactly what their individual disabilities and capabilities are, and he coaches them and teaches them all not to hide behind their disability, but overcome their own hurdles and become the best, as he has. I consider David to be a true champion.”

Mr Roberts, who swims for four hours a day and is in training for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic games, said: “I started swimming primarily for physiotherapy after I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was nine. I enjoyed it and I was pretty successful.

“Children do tend to look up to what I’ve done and I will always want to give people something back.

“Even if it takes five hours to explain something to a child, I’ll do it. If I can help then I will.”

Mr Roberts, who is originally from Beddau, has seven gold, four silver and one bronze Paralympic medal.

“He visits schools in Rhondda to give sports talks to children and is the Dragon Sports Ambassador for Rhondda Cynon Taff. He also won the Sports Champion in the Echo’s Community Champion awards 2004.”

He said: “It’s an honour to be nominated for the Fellowship, I’m in shock. It’s nice to have recognition from the community for what I have done and not just the sporting world.”

The People’s Fellowship is being awarded as part of Cardiff University’s 125th anniversary celebrations. Visit www.cf.ac.uk/125