Paralympic champion swimmer wins prestigious Spanish prize

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FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Sept 9, 2008, Spain's Teresa Perales swims to a gold medal in the Women's 200m Freestyle S5 event at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in Beijing. Paralympic champion swimmer Teresa Perales has won Spains annual Princess of Asturias award for sports, it is announced Wednesday June 2, 2021.(AP Photo/Greg Baker, FILE)

MADRID – Paralympic champion swimmer Teresa Perales has won Spain’s annual Princess of Asturias award for sports.

The judges said on announcing the prize Wednesday that the Spanish athlete had become “an example for millions of disabled people of how to overcome difficulties and an icon of international paralympics.”

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Perales, 45, lost the use of her legs due to neuropathy when she was 19 and switched from karate to swimming. She has won numerous medals at the Paralympic Games over the past two decades. She is also a motivational speaker and physiotherapist.

The 50,000-euro ($60,900) award is one of eight Asturias prizes handed out each year by a foundation named for Crown Princess Leonor. Other categories include art, social sciences and scientific research.

Former winners include American Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn and Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher.

The awards are among the most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking world. An awards ceremony typically takes place in October in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.

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