Iliesa Delana

Iliesa Delana

Minister for Youth and Sports
Personal information
Born (1984-12-02) 2 December 1984
Country  Fiji
Sport Athletics
Event(s) High Jump - F42
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals 2012 Summer Paralympics: High Jump (F42) – Gold

Iliesa Delana (born 2 December 1984) is a Fijian athlete, Member of the Parliament of Fiji, and Cabinet Minister. He was the first Fijian athlete to win a medal, gold in high jump, for Fiji at the Paralympics.

Early life

Delana was born in Naisausau, Namara, Tailevu, Fiji. He lost his left leg in a bus accident at age three. He debuted at the FESPIC Games in 2006,[1] and has since won silver medal at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, held in New Zealand,[2] and then a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

2012 Paralympics

Delana competed in the F42 category (for single leg amputees without prosthesis) at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Going into the games, Delana was ranked number 2 in the world,[2][3][4] but jumped 1.74m to win the gold on count back, after clearing all heights up to and including 1.74m on his first attempts. His jump of 1.74m broke the Oceanic record for the event.[5]

In doing this, Delana became the first Fijian to win any medal at the Paralympics (or Olympics), and the first athlete from the South Pacific Islands to win gold (following Francis Kompaon's silver medal for Papua New Guinea in sprinting in 2008).[6][7][8]

Delana was congratulated by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau,[6] and by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who called upon all Fijians to celebrate his victory.[9] Upon his return to Fiji, Delana was welcomed by thousands of people (in the rain) for national celebrations which included a procession through the main street of Suva and "military and traditional ceremonies of welcome, [normally] only accorded to Heads of States". Delana was invited to inspect a fifty-strong honour guard. President Nailatikau delivered a speech describing Delana as a national "icon", adding that he had brought to the country a "sense of unity and pride [...] greatly needed at this point in time and in pursuit towards democratic governance", in the context of constitutional change following the 2006 military coup and plans for the restoration of democracy in 2014.[10] The government announced that it would be building him a new house, to be completed before Christmas, as a gift and "token of appreciation from the Fijian Government and from all Fijians".[11] He was presented with a new home by Prime Minister Bainimarama in January 2013, as "a token of appreciation to convey Fiji's profound gratitude for the great honour [Delana had] bestowed upon the country".[12]

He is depicted on the obverse of the Fijian 2013 circulating commemorative 50 Cents coin.

Political career

Delana stood in the 2014 general elections for the FijiFirst party, and was elected to Parliament with 906 votes.[13] He was subsequently appointed to cabinet as Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports.[14]


  1. IPC bio
  2. 1 2 "Athlete profiles", Fiji Times, 31 January 2012
  3. "Five confirmed for 2012 London Olympics", Fijilive, 30 January 2012
  4. "Look back at February 2011", Radio Fiji, 30 December 2011
  5. Men's High Jump - F42, London 2012 official website, 3 September 2012
  6. 1 2 "Delana jumps into history", Fiji Times, 4 September 2012
  7. "Sport: Fiji’s Iliesa Delana wins Pacific’s first ever Paralympic gold medal", Radio New Zealand International, 3 September 2012
  8. "Fiji PM pays tribute to nation's first gold winner of London Paralympics", Global Times, 4 September 2012
  9. "Enormous victory", Fiji Times, 5 September 2012
  10. "Fiji salutes Golden hero, Iliesa Delana", PacNews, 13 September 2012
  11. "Government provides free home for Delena", Fiji government website, 13 September 2012
  12. "Fiji gives golden boy a new home", Fiji Times, 31 January 2013
  13. "2014 Election Results". Fiji Elections Office. Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  14. "20-member Cabinet announced". FBC. 2014-09-24. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
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