Spain's most decorated Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales has won the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for Sports.
The €50,000 award is one of eight Asturias prizes given each year by a foundation named for Crown Princess Leonor.
“You cannot imagine the emotion of receiving the news and the deep gratitude for receiving the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports 2021,” Perales said on her Instagram.
“It has been a very difficult year for all of us. We have all lived through it, we know how complicated it has been and is being. For the athletes who are preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, I wanted to share this Award with all of them.
“With those Paralympic athletes, with all those people with disabilities, with all those sportswomen, with all the sportswomen who are mothers, with all of us who dream at some point of reaching the top of the podium or of improving every day in each of the things we do. My thanks go to all of you. This award goes to you. A big kiss and thank you!"
The Spaniard, who lost mobility in the lower limbs due to neuropathy at the age of 18, has won a whooping 26 medals including seven gold, nine silver and 10 bronze across five editions of the Paralympic Games.
At Tokyo 2020, later this year, the 45-year-old will be looking to swell that medals tally further.
In an interview earlier this year, Perales had heralded that she was hungry for more medals and this time round at the Games her motivation was her son.
“I want to win some medals to give as a present to my son. He deserves it. No matter when it happens, this is still my biggest dream,” said Perales, who is also a noted motivational speaker and physiotherapist.
Her laurels also include 22 World Championship medals - four gold, 10 silver and eight bronze and 43 European Championship medals - 12 gold, 21 silver and 10 bronze.
The judges announcing award hailed the Spanish athlete's contribution saying she is “an example for millions of disabled people on how to overcome difficulties and an icon of international Paralympics.”
Perales has also held several public positions - General Director of Attention to the Dependent of the Government of Aragon, Advisor to the Department of Social and Family Services and Advisor to the Department of Promotion and Sports of the Zaragoza City Council, among others.