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Para Olympian Derenalagi Meets Team Fiji

United Kingdom para Olympian Derek Derenalagi and his wife Ana joined Fiji Amateur Sports Association National Olympic Committee president Makarita Lenoa at the first Team Fiji meeting at Birmingham on Tuesday.
28 Jul 2022 17:44
Para Olympian Derenalagi Meets Team Fiji
Sitting first and second from left, Ana and Derek Derenalagi with Team Fiji Chef de Mission Sale Sorovaki (standing) during Team Fiji assembly on July 27, 2022. Photo: FASANOC Para Olympian Derenalagi Meets Team Fiji FIJI SUN | THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2022 | FIJISUN.COM.FJ

United Kingdom para Olym­pian Derek Derenalagi and his wife Ana joined Fiji Am­ateur Sports Association National Olympic Committee president Ma­karita Lenoa at the first Team Fiji meeting at Birmingham on Tues­day.

Originally from Nawaka in Nadi the former British Army Derenal­agi had lost both his legs while on duty in Afghanistan in 2007.

He survived an IED blast, despite being pronounced dead on an op­erating table. He has been able to live and thrive and even went on to win gold for Team Great Britain at the 2012 Para Athletics European Championships in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands.

In a FASANOC social page post yesterday, Derenalagi mingled with members of Team Fiji who assem­bled for the first time ahead of to­day’s official opening ceremony.

The meeting was called by chef de mission Sale Sorovaki.

Derenalagi is no stranger to FAS­ANOC as he had represented Fiji to the 2019 Arafura Games in Darwin Australia.

He had pledged his allegiance to his native Fiji in an effort to break­down the taboo of disability across the Pacific Islands.

“After my injuries, my wife and I went back to Fiji that year and it was clear that those with disabili­ties were classed as second class citizens. They’re all discriminated against,” said Derenalagi.

Having lived in the UK for more than two decades, Derenalagi has witnessed the societal change that the Paralympic Games brought to Great Britain and was one on the frontline in the cultural shift take place in Fiji.

With his wealth of experience giv­ing him perspective, he takes the lead in encouraging people living with disabilities strive for better lives.

“I thank God, because without the grace of God, without the love of Jesus Christ in my life and my fam­ily I wouldn’t be able to do this.”

Team Fiji is represented by 64 ath­letes who will be participating in athletics, boxing, swimming, para athletics, para table tennis, judo, squash, triathlon, table tennis, rug­by sevens men, rugby sevens wom­en, lawn bowls and weightlifting.

Feedback: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



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