Daniel Dias believes that the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics still feel special ©Getty Images

Brazil's Paralympic swimming legend Daniel Dias believes the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics still feel special despite the Games being delayed to next year because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The 24-time Paralympic medallist has returned to training as he prepares to try and add to his tally in the Japanese capital in 2021.

"This is my fourth Paralympic Games, so it feels very special in any case," the 32-year-old said to the International Paralympic Committee.

"However, the whole world is facing a difficult situation and the Games are expected to help show that we've overcome it.

"For me the Paralympic Games are unique and it's an incredible feeling to be part of it.

"As an athlete I shouldn't be too excited, but I'm really excited for next year. 

"I feel the same upbeat feeling this time, too, like all the previous Paralympic Games I've taken part in.

"I look forward to the adrenaline pumping moment again."

Daniel Dias has won 24 Paralympic medals in the pool ©Getty Images
Daniel Dias has won 24 Paralympic medals in the pool ©Getty Images

Dias swims in the S5, SB4 and SM5 classes and has won 14 Paralympic gold medals.

He is Brazil's most decorated Paralympian and also boasts 40 World Championship medals and 33 Parapan American Games titles.

Like other athletes, Dias was impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns which meant he was not able to use the pool for training.

"I felt like a fish out of water," said Dias, who was born with malformed arms and legs.

"I've been doing other training, but it wasn't the main thing I could do as a swimmer.

"My motivation is to be able to get better all the time and show that I'm able to reach further, have better records."