8 Mar 2012
With less than six months to go to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the fourth Essex athlete to compete for Great Britain at the London 2012 was announced.
Roberto Pavoni of Brentwood, Essex, yesterday became British Champion for the third year in a row, beat his English record and qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games after winning the 400m Individual Medley in the brand new Olympic Swimming Pool in Stratford.
Roberto, 20, began swimming at six years old and over the past twelve years has been swimming competitively to achieve this dream of competing at the Olympics. His highly successful career has included two gold medals at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Belgrade, Serbia when he was only 16 years of age, then over the following two years he won four medals at the European Junior Championships, including two golds.
Roberto’s greatest sporting achievements consist of competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, where he made two finals finishing 7th in both the 400m Individual Medley and the 200m Butterfly despite suffering illness. The following year he went on to make the final, finishing 8th in the 400m Individual Medley at the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China.
Roberto comments: ‘I can not express how excited I am. I have worked so hard over the past twelve years and finally my dream has come true- not only to compete at the Olympics, but London 2012! I couldn’t be happier. I will continue to push myself and will hopefully be walking back to Essex with a gold medal round my neck!’
Cllr Stephen Castle, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and the 2012 Games commented, ‘This is a hugely exciting moment for Essex. I’m delighted to hear that Roberto has been selected and want to share my whole hearted congratulations to him. I hope that the whole of Essex will join me in supporting Roberto over the coming year, in the build up to the Games’.
As well as being a member of the GB Swimming Team, Roberto also maintains his role as a Team Essex Ambassador. Established by Essex County Council, the Team Essex Ambassador’s Award provides top athletes in Essex with grants so that they have the best chance to compete in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Recognised by their National Governing Body of Sports, Team Essex Ambassadors work to promote sport across the county as well as work with schools and sports clubs to inspire the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic athletes within Essex.
As part of the scheme Roberto, who has been a Team Essex Ambassador for two years, has received funding from Essex County Council, which has enabled him to continue working towards his dream of Olympic Gold. Roberto comments, ‘Swimming full time has massive financial implications, and without the support of Essex County Council, and the Ambassadors award, it’s almost impossible to keep the campaign on the road! I am extremely grateful to Essex County Council and The Essex Legacy Team for all their support over the past two years’.