Asaeli Drauna with his medals pictured at Nawaka District School. Photo: ANA SOVA.
By ANA SOVA
Asaeli Drauna is a 10 year old from Nawaka Village in Nadi who has convinced his school that all you need is strength and endurance to be a good swimmer.
The Year 5 student earned his first medals while representing the Nawaka District School at the Fiji National Schools Swimming Championships 2017 held in Suva last month.
Asaeli won a gold and bronze medal in the backstroke and freestyle event consecutively.
This was also the school’s first and lone gold medal from the event as it was the first time for the school to participate in the Championship or any competitive swimming event.
The youngster said he never thought of himself as an elite swimmer, he just loved to swim.
“I always loved swimming growing up. Then this year our school introduced swimming classes and later we were informed there would be training held for a competition in Suva and so I started attending,” Asaeli said.
He said one of the reasons he regularly attended the training which was held every lunch time at the river beside their village was because he wanted to go to Suva as he’s never been there.
“But really I just loved getting in the water, I enjoy it,” Asaeli said.
The shy Nadi lad said he was very excited when he was selected to participate but as he got to the event he was scared.
“It was my first time at a big competition like that, and I’ve never competed in swimming before. I was so nervous but I knew I had to,” Asaeli said.
He said he was shocked when he realised he had won first place.
“It was the first day of the championship and I wasn’t really expecting a gold medal or any medal at all. I was happy and my team was happy,” Asaeli said.
Asaeli, who is the fifth of eight brothers and sisters said his family has been very happy with his achievement.
“I want to thank them for their support, especially my parents, Nanise and Onisimo,” he said.
Asaeli hopes to participate again in the next Championship.