Tuesday 17th April 2012
Derek Derenalagi hopes to qualify for the Paralympic discus competition
A soldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan is hoping to qualify for the Paralympics thanks to a specially-made piece of equipment provided by charity Remap.
Private Derek Derenalagi, 34, of Bushey, Hertfordshire, spent nine days in a coma after the Land Rover he was travelling in was blown up by an anti-tank mine in 2007.
Fifteen months later he was selected as one of six members of the UK armed forces to train at the US national Olympic Training Centre in California in a bid to develop their sporting prowess.
Derek is now looking to qualify for the London 2012 Paralympic Games discus competition using a lightweight throwing frame, produced in Buckinghamshire by Remap volunteers, in an event on Tuesday, May 8.
Fijian-born Derek said: "I love the frame. When I win a medal I want everyone to know that Remap helped to make it possible. They've done a marvellous job for me."
Remap volunteer Roger Thorn designed the frame, which is attached to the ground with four adjustable straps and has two seatbelts to strap Derek to it.
He said: "I was amazed at the energy that Derek produced when throwing the discus and knew that we would have to design a very strong but lightweight frame.
"In competition, Derek and an assistant only have a limited time to set up his frame and secure Derek to it. In addition to this, the frame has to be portable and light enough to allow Derek to take it with him when flying to international events."
Remap is a national charity that provides custom-made equipment for people with disabilities. It has a network of around 1,100 volunteers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland including engineers, craftspeople and healthcare professionals.