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  1. ITV Report

Derek Derenalagi beats the odds to reach his dream of Paralympics 2012

Derek Derenalagi will compete tonight in the Paralympic Games, five years after he lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan.

Derek was so badly injured he was pronounced dead after a Taliban bomb blew up under his Land Rover, but as medics checked his identity they found a faint pulse and Derek was flown home to the UK for treatment.

Derek Derenalagi Credit: John Walton/PA Wire

He remained in a coma for eight days and awoke with his wife Ana by his side. It was when he told her he wanted to get up to go to the toilet that she told him he could not - because he no longer had his legs.

Derek took his new circumstances seriously but said he told his wife, "this is not the end, this is the beginning."

ITV News first met Derek in 2009, two years after his accident and year after he had first taken up competitive sport:

In 2010 ITV News took Derek in to the yet to be completed, Olympic stadium. There he stood in the centre of what was a building site and told ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery: "I'll be dreaming everyday to be here again, in 2012."

Now Derek has made it back to the stadium and will be hoping to stand on the podium, but whether he gets a medal or not, Derek has already won.

Today Neil Connery met the Derenalagi family for a third time as Derek realised his dream and headed to the Olympic Stadium to compete:

Ana, Derek's wife, spoke to ITV News at the Olympic Park today; "I am so excited. I've waited so long for this day. I cant wait for this evening when Derek throws the discus," she said.

But she is says that staying with him after he lost is legs is what any wife would do;

All I did was stand by my man. Through thick and thin, rain and shine I have just been there at his side. When I said my wedding vows - in sickness and in health - I meant every word and will do for eternity.

– Ana Derenalagi

Derek phoned Ana while she was speaking to ITV News and spoke of his pride in Ana: "She's been my rock. Without her I wouldn't be where I am today."

She told Neil Connery, "I'm excited, that is the only thing, excited:"

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