Australia’s sport for development program in the Pacific is designed to encourage communities to become more active, and encourage inclusion for women and people with disability. For one man though, Epeli Baleibau, the Pacific Sports Partnerships is the spring board towards Paralympic Gold.
After losing his hand in a workplace accident 19 years ago, Epeli and his family have struggled; he has faced challenges with work, they have struggled with the loss of Epeli’s wife and he has battled ill health. Faced with limited options, it was a visit to the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons that turned his life around.
Through the Australian Government’s Pacific Sport Partnerships program Epeli was given the opportunity to try athletics. A natural, Epeli is now about to represent Fiji at the Rio Paralympics in the T47 High Jump.
While the Program has given him the opportunity to go to the Paralympics, Epeli is also convinced it has given him his life.
“Come along to any kind of sports and train. Build up your body. Be healthy. Your disability can make you old quick. Come to a sports field to train and be healthy. Help the doctor. Don’t head to the hospital every time. This is a hospital.”
More information: From low point to high jump: Epeli’s epic Paralympic journey