THE management of Iliesa Delana's former school, Cuvu College, has hailed him as a real hero.
School manager Senjit Singh said Delana has reached the pinnacle of his sporting career by achieving the impossible in winning gold at the Paralympics.
"The school management, teachers, students, past students and the community are really proud of Iliesa. He is the hero of the school, province of Nadroga and our beloved Fiji," said Singh.
He said Delana had also stamped Fiji's name in the world of sports.
"He also has taught us we can achieve anything if we really put our minds and efforts in it.
"To be the first Olympian gold medallist for Fiji and the South Pacific is unbelieavable.
"Thank you so much Delana for your perseverance."
School president Vajili Kasowaqa also showered words of praise for Denana.
"This is a miracle. Who would have thought a Fijian village boy with only one limb to conquer the world in the high jump at the Olympic level?
"I believe it was achieved by Iliesa's hard work and faith in the Almighty that proved nothing is impossible.' said Kasowaqa.
He recalled Delana's school days at Cuvu College in early 2000.
"A quiet student but very respective. I remember him picking up rubbish with other students, he always wore long pants with his artificial leg. He was treated equally with the rest of the students," said Kasowaqa who has been Cuvu College's president since 1998.
Former schoolmate Mere Joyce said it was emotional watching Delana on television receiving his gold medal.
"I remember during sports especially in interhouse athletics, Iliesa would normally sit with teachers as one of the field event officials because he couldn't take part in any event.
"This a good year for the school, and many formeer Cuvu College stars have emerged like Waisake Naholo playing for the NZ 7s team, U17 rugby winning the Deans (Tier Two) final, Miss Hibiscus is a former student but Iliesa tops it all as Cuvu College's superstar," said Joyce now a telephone operator at the Shagri-La's Fijian Resort.
Another former student Apenisa Kurisaqila said Delana showed a lot of determination during school.
"He didn't allow his handicap as a an obstacle in his school work, he hardly missed school. On behalf of all the former students, we take our hats off to Iliesa and we thank the Almighty for giving him victory.'
12.20pm — flight arrives at Nadi.
1pm — press conference.
2pm — Delana escorted from arrival lounge to domestic lounge.
2.30pm — Delana departs Nadi International Airport for Nausori.
3pm — Arrives at Nausori Airport.