FRESH from winning the gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympics, local hero Iliesa Delana will now turn his focus on defending the title in four years time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Delana, who won the High Jump F42 event, said he would work harder to win another medal.
He said winning the gold medal in London was an unforgettable moment. Winning the gold medal is one of those unforgettable moments that I will cherish all my life, Delana said.
I cant explain the feeling of the victory. Only that moment can say it. Now its the past. I will have to focus on the other competitions that are coming up.
The only thing I can say that is I have to defend the gold medal and I know that I will have to work harder. There are other athletes who will be aiming for the title.
They will be out to become the next Paralympics champion and they will be focusing on me. So I will have to gear up and try to improve my performance to maintain my status as the Paralympics champion.
Delana was given a resounding welcome at the Nadi Airport yesterday.
The 27-year-old said his aim at the London Games was to finish in the top four.
I was not expecting the gold medal, Delana said.
All I wanted to do was to be in the top four in the world. But to win gold I thank the Almighty for that. I dont know what I will be saying when people will be following me in Suva.
As an athlete everyone needs to work hard. If you want to excel then the only way is to jump on the field and perform so that the young athletes that are coming up can see how far you go.
What you can achieve will always encourage them to reach the level where you are. It was not easy winning the gold medal. The athletes train their whole life to get to the Olympics and Paralympics. For me it was total sacrifice, balance the time at work, with training and rest.