SQUADDIE Derek Derenalagi is aiming for glory in the London Paralympics - five years after he was declared dead in a Taliban bomb attack.
Derek, 34, lost both legs in the Afghanistan horror. But today he is among 300 GB heroes hoping to grab gold at the 2012 Games.
On Friday Private Derenalagi, who decorates his artificial legs with Union Flags, will compete in the discus - even though it causes him intense pain.
Ahead of Thursday night's opening ceremony, he recalled how he was zipped in a body bag after the bomb exploded under his Land Rover as he and pals cleared a landing site in 2007.Derek, honoured two years later by The Sun's Millie awards where he met Prince Harry, said: "They thought I was dead.
"They put me in a body bag and were preparing to take me home, then found a faint pulse. I was still in the world."
Days later, Derek woke up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, with wife Ana at his bedside.
He said: "I'd a chance of a new life where I could try to inspire others. I swore that's what I would do."
While in the military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court, Surrey, Derek saw the Beijing Paralympics and vowed to compete in 2012.
Helped by Battle Back, the MoD scheme funded by the Royal British Legion and Help For Heroes, he took up sport as part of his rehabilitation.
And he recently won the European Paralympic championships with a throw of 41.41 metres.
To throw the discus, Derek straps himself into a specially-made frame and digs the stumps of his legs into the sockets of his artificial limbs.
But the competitor, still a serving soldier with 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, insists he is not a hero.
Derek, born in Fiji but living in Bushey, Herts, said: "I'm no superman.
"There have been low points, but if I feel down I remind myself of those who didn't make it home.
"Hopefully Sun readers and the whole nation will get behind the whole Paralympic squad to win more medals for GB."