IT was not easy for Malakai Kaiwalu to win a gold medal at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.

He was raised by a single parent after his parents separated when he was in Year 9 in 2008.

Kaiwalu jumped 2.06 metres in the men’s high jump at the Korman Stadium in Port Vila yesterday.

“In 2008 when I was in Year 9, my parents separated and I lived with my mother Liviana Kaiwalu,” he said.

He was emotional.

“Despite that I have been getting support from my mum and dad where my dad had been giving us the well wishes.

“There were times when I had to ask my mother to give me money for my training gear and bus fare.”

Kawalu said God had also blessed him with his talents.

“It was a happy moment for me to win since it erased those sad memoroes.

“I changed some of the techniques which helped me win the gold medal. Before I used to run sideways before I jumped, but now after some coaching, I polished my running techniques.

“The win is for all my families in Suva and Ba for being there and supporting me. God has played an important role in my life since I am blessed with the talent the Almighty has given me.”

Meanwhile, Peniel Richard of Papua New Guinea and Mosese Foliaki came second and third respectively.

Story and photo by Fiji Times