3 October 1974 |
|Event(s)||F57 Shot put
|Coached by||Alison O'Riordan|
|Achievements and titles|
|Personal best(s)||Shot Put: 11.55m
Derek Derenalagi (born 3 October 1974) is a British Paralympic discus thrower and former soldier.
|Years of service||1999–2007|
Derenalagi joined the British Army in 1999. (There is a well-established tradition of Fijians joining the British armed forces (for example, thousands of Fijians served as part of New Zealand or Australian units during WW2. Fiji was part of the British Empire from ~1870-1970).) In July 2007 he was on a tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) as it travelled to a helicopter landing site. On return to Camp Bastion he was pronounced dead, but whilst preparing his body for a body bag, medical staff found that he still had a pulse. As a result of the injuries he sustained, both of Derenalagi's legs were amputated above the knee. In a coma, he was flown back to the UK where, nine days later, he woke up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.
Derenalagi is part of the Ministry of Defence's Battle Back programme, funded by the Help for Heroes charity. As part of the scheme he took part in a 2009 training camp at the United States Olympic Training Center at Chula Vista, California. He competes in the F57 Paralympic disability category for athletes with spinal cord injuries and amputations. At the 2012 IPC Athletics European Championships in the Netherlands, Derenalagi won the gold medal in the F57/58 discus. His winning throw of 41.41 metres (135.9 ft) came in the final round of the competition and earned him a score of 826 points, enough to beat Russian F58 world champion and world record holder Alexey Ashapatov, whose throw of 46.85 metres (153.7 ft) scored him 795 points.
Derenalagi was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics as part of a 49-member squad for athletics. He competed in the men's F57–58 discus event, which was held on 31 August 2012 in the Olympic Stadium. He is the first Fijian selected to represent Great Britain in the Paralympics.
Derenalagi is an inspirational speaker and regularly speaks at schools, charity events, and businesses across the country[which?] to talk about overcoming adversity, and achieving goals. He is represented by the speaking agency Military Speakers 
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