Table Tennis

Disability not a barrier for Paralympian Mere Rodan

Mere Rodan, an athlete who will represent Fiji in table tennis at the Rio Paralympics, is out to make a difference in the sporting field. Mrs Rodan, 48, says she has an attitude of accepting her limits and going beyond them. In an interview, Mrs Rodan stated she had always wanted to explore and excel in all aspects […]

Luke Nacei

July 25, 2016 9:39 am

Mere Rodan, an athlete who will represent Fiji in table tennis at the Rio Paralympics, is out to make a difference in the sporting field.

Mere Rodan. (Luke Nacei/Newswire)
Mere Rodan. (Luke Nacei/Newswire)

Mrs Rodan, 48, says she has an attitude of accepting her limits and going beyond them.

In an interview, Mrs Rodan stated she had always wanted to explore and excel in all aspects of her life.

RODAN: “Like I said this sport (table tennies) doesn’t really matter about age barrier so you could be 60 playing an 18-year-old”

The Koro Island native will be competing in the Class Five category in Rio, and has set her sights on winning a gold medal.

Mrs Rodan started her table tennis career in 2014, and in her first international tournament was able to conquer Australia’s number one in the ITTF championship.

RODAN: “I started up this sport through and invitation from another colleague Sainimili Naivalu. That evening when I went in to the table the development officers asked me if I had played this sport before and I said no and they said that I seem to know what I am doing and said maybe I used to play netball way back in school and for that I had the sense of what I need to do when I am playing the game.

She said her first time in table tennis was one of her memorable ones as she loved every bit of it.

RODAN: “For that first day I said I wanted to be a champion in this sport, I just loved it. When they said they were going to have the BSP Smash Down Barriers program they wanted person with disability to come and be part of it I said why not I want to continue.

Mrs Rodan also enjoyed playing netball during her schooling days before she met an accident in 1983.

RODAN: “I remembered way back at that time it happened in this class room here. That was back in 1983. Then 1985  I felt that pain.She is the youngest in her family with six other siblings.

She said her participation at the Rio Olympics would be a special one for her as she will be celebrating her birthday in September.

Being the youngest in her family, she says her motivation was always her mother who passed last year as she moulded her to be the best of who is she today.

RODAN: “My mom Talica Dilomaria was an inspiration to me, she was always there encouraging each one of us. If i win a gold medal in Rio it will surely be dedicated to her.

Her Challenges: 

Mere Rodan is in need of close to $15,000 to be able to purchase a new Wheel Chair made for Table Tennis. The local champion is currently using a regular wheelchair but is hopeful she will get a new one before the Rio Paralympics in Brazil in September.

RODAN: “I experience a lot during my training in between session I had to stop and try and get my chair back to its original position keeps moving so the breaks wasn’t working well, This one that I have was a replacement and now its has the same problem as well.

She said her current wheelchair disturbs her when she is competing in any competition.

RODAN: “When you move in table tennis and you respond from the hits that is coming from that side you might have to turn more to the left or to the right and surely your chair when you want to move you wouldn’t want to move the whole 90 degrees you might want only to move at 45 degrees but that doesn’t happen and some times when we are doing a rally I just cant do that as well because my chair is not in its proper position it goes of the hook.”

Mrs Rodan had also participated in the World Para Championships in China where she played the world’s number two from China.

She said her family and friends from her village had been very supportive of her.

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