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Page last updated at 00:02 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Roberts heads Wales sport honours

David Roberts
David Roberts is now a CBE to add to his 11 Paralympic gold medals

Paralympic swimmer David Roberts and Great Britain cycling guru David Brailsford head the Welsh sports stars in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Both men become CBEs after their achievements at the Beijing Games.

Cyclists Nicole Cooke, Geraint Thomas and Simon Richardson, plus rower Tom James, are all appointed MBEs.

Swimming coach Dave Haller, Wales-based Paralympic pool star Eleanor Simmonds, 14, and GB swimming disability coach Billy Pye, also become MBEs.

Cycling performance director Brailsford, 44, from Penisarwaun near Caernarfon, was the driving force behind Team GB's dominance on the track, first at the World Championships and then in Beijing for the Olympics.

MBE a real honour for Simmonds

"Everybody in our team dedicate their lives to the pursuit of a dream - to win a gold medal," Brailsford said.

"When they do get recognised in this way it is breathtaking and a fantastic honour.

"It is a great achievement for cycling, and a great opportunity to improve cycling at the grass-roots."

Pontypridd swimmer Roberts, 28, won four gold medals in Beijing to take his all-time gold tally to 11, moving level with Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson as Wales' most successful Paralympian.

Cooke kick-started Britain's gold run with a magnificent ride on the road in horrendous weather conditions.

Inside in the warmth of the velodrome, Thomas claimed gold - with team-mates Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy and Paul Manning - triumphing in the men's Team Pursuit.

Paralympian cyclist Richardson won two events in the Individual Pursuit (LC 3) and 1km Time Trial (LC 3-4).

Fellow track star Jody Cundy - born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, but now living in Swansea with Welsh partner Liz Johnson - took two golds in the 1km Time Trial (LC 2) and Team Sprint (LC1-4 CP3/4) and like Richardson is made an MBE.

By 2012 I can hopefully repay in part the wonderful accolades and affection that I have received

Paralympic swimmer Eleanor Simmonds

Swimmer Johnson was also a gold medallist in Beijing, adding the SB6 100m Breaststroke title to her silver at the 2004 Games.

Rower James, who hails from Coedpoeth near Wrexham, was in the bow seat as himself, Andy Hodge, Peter Reed and Steve Williams claimed gold in the coxless four.

Like Brailsford, Pye was a guiding light to his team, with the likes of Roberts and Simmonds - 13 at the time she won the S6 100m Freestyle and S6 400m Freestyle - topping the podium in the Water Cube.

Simmonds was born in Walsall but now lives in Swansea - attending Olchfa Comprehensive School - to make use of the facilities of the Wales National Pool in the city.

"The last three months have been a whirlwind and, while feeling as though I am living a fairy tale, I want to work hard to keep my feet on the ground," Simmonds said.

"By 2012 I can hopefully repay in part the wonderful accolades and affection that I have received, for which I will always remains unendingly grateful no matter what the future holds."

Haller, who has helped oversee a revolution in British swimming, like Simmonds bases himself in Wales' second city.

see also
Hoy knighted in New Year honours
31 Dec 08 |  Sport Homepage
Davies completes Welsh medal haul
21 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008
Roberts & Simmonds shine in pool
14 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
Britain's golden wonders
17 Aug 08 |  Beijing 2008
Paralympics - GB's roll of honour
22 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales

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