Sipho Mjoka of South Africa made a dream start in the swimming competitions of the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
The 18-year-old South African swimmer won the title of the men's 50-meter freestyle on Friday. He is also a title contender for Saturday's 100m freestyle.
Mjoka's victory brought the spectators in the Pudong Natatorium to their feet. His winning time in the Division 5 finals stands at 29.40 seconds.
Mjoka's coach Brenda Saville, who is also the head coach for South African swimming team at the Special Olympics, was full of praise for his student: "He swam a fantastic race. He has always been a dream for me. He listens and then goes out and does his best. What more can a coach ask for?"
Mjoka grew up in an orphanage in Durban after he was abandoned by his mother as a child. He now still calls the orphanage home.
Ann Janssens, a member of the Board of Directors at the home, flew 16 hours to Shanghai to see her favorite student race.
"I had to be here to see him race. Our orphanage has about 200 children and he's one of the ones you look out for and hope things work out for in the future," Janssens said.
"Coming here, being in these Games, is more than I ever could have dreamed of," Mjoka says. "It got me out of my world."