We have been watching the IAAF every night this week and last night we were happy to discover that Leslie Copeland was representing Fiji at the IAAF in Korea this week. He is a champion javelin thrower and threw more than 76 metres yesterday. However this wasn't enough to get into the final cut. Anyway, congratulations Leslie for throwing at this level. Here is his story:
ParticipantLeslie Copeland D.O.B. Apr 23, 1988 Discipline(s) Athletics Various
Barely in his 20s, Fijian javelin thrower Leslie Copeland is well on his way to becoming an international star of field athletics with dreams of striking silver and gold. But to get where he is, he has already had to overcome considerable obstacles, having grown up in relative poverty in a rural part of the remote Pacific island chain.
When Leslie was nine his father died, leaving the young family of six children with no bread winner. Despite having seven children of her own, Leslie’s aunt was able to help and Leslie and his siblings remained in education.
At secondary school, Leslie took up javelin and proved to be a natural. He set new records in every category at school and by age 17, he was a national champion. He then won a scholarship to the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Vanuatu.
Near the end of 2007, the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) offered him the chance to train for nine months in Brisbane, Australia. But while Leslie was able to train, he still needed considerable financial support from home. When he returned to Fiji, he was determined he should have a steady job to fall back in the future so he could look after himself and his extended family. Last year, he enrolled on a civil engineering course.
But Leslie is still totally determined to rise to the very top of his sport and both eyes are focused on reaching the 2012 Olympics in London, where he intends to become the first Fijian to bring home a medal.
“There were times in the past where I had lost all hope,” says Leslie. “But I am looking forward to achieving my academic goals and if possible one day in the near future, my dream of being a top athlete.”