Derek Derenalagi

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Derek Derenalagi
Personal information
Born (1974-10-03) 3 October 1974 (age 44)
Nadi, Fiji
Country Great Britain
Event(s)F57 Shot put
F57 Discus
Coached byAlison O'Riordan
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals2012
Personal best(s)Shot Put: 11.55m
Discus: 43.03m

Derek Derenalagi (born 3 October 1974) is a British Paralympic discus thrower and former soldier.

Early life[edit]

From Nakavu Village in Nadi, Fiji, Derenalagi was born to a single mother and was raised by his grandmother.[1][2]

Military service[edit]

Derek Derenalagi
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1999–2007

Derenalagi joined the British Army in 1999.[3] (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).[4]) 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.[3][5][6] 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.[1][6][7] As a result of the injuries he sustained, both of Derenalagi's legs were amputated above the knee.[3][7] In a coma, he was flown back to the UK where, nine days later, he woke up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.[5]


Derenalagi is part of the Ministry of Defence's Battle Back programme, funded by the Help for Heroes charity.[5][6][8][9] As part of the scheme he took part in a 2009 training camp at the United States Olympic Training Center at Chula Vista, California.[5] He competes in the F57 Paralympic disability category for athletes with spinal cord injuries and amputations.[10][11] At the 2012 IPC Athletics European Championships in the Netherlands, Derenalagi won the gold medal in the F57/58 discus.[12] 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.[11]

Derenalagi was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Paralympics as part of a 49-member squad for athletics.[13] He competed in the men's F57–58 discus event, which was held on 31 August 2012 in the Olympic Stadium.[13][14] He is the first Fijian selected to represent Great Britain in the Paralympics.[1]


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 [1]


  1. ^ a b c Kumar, Ronish (11 July 2012). "One for GB". Fiji Times. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Derek Derenalagi". British Paralympic Association. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Peck, Tom (11 July 2012). "Hero swaps the battlefield for the sports field". The Independent. London. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  4. ^ "To Helmand and back: The Fijians fighting in the British Army", The Guardian, 26 April 2009
  5. ^ a b c d "Amputee and paralysed British soldiers get back into sport at US Olympic training camp". The Telegraph. 9 January 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "Derek's Story". Help for Heroes. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b Barford, Vanessa (4 July 2012). "Was Jimmy Carr right about the Paralympics?". BBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Watford competitor Derek Derenalagi to represent ParalympicsGB in discus at London 2012". Watford Observer. 11 July 2012.
  9. ^ Davies, Gareth A. (10 July 2012). "London 2012 Paralympics: 50 days to go landmark sees ParalympicsGB athletics squad named". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  10. ^ Andrew McGarry (3 September 2008). "Paralympics categories explained". ABC. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Hat-trick of European Athletics Golds for GB". San Antonio Express-News. PRWeb. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Garrett, Tony (28 June 2012). "GB athletics pair confident over 2012 Paralympic plans". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  13. ^ a b "GB athletics team named for London Paralympics". BBC Sport. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Men's Discus Throw - F57/58". Official site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Retrieved 12 July 2012.