Marcelline Moli of Abobo Village on Ambae was only 10 years old when she climbed a very high mango tree and reached out along a branch to grab a mango.
She over-balanced and fell.
A compound fracture of her right arm failed to heal and eventually, her arm had to be amputated. Further complications set in. Miss Moli had a very long path to recovery.
“I had to leave school and stay home,” reflected Marcelline.
“It was very difficult, I really missed school, learning and my friends but I didn’t give up.”
She continued to show real courage and determination to overcome the situation.
“I became involved with sport organized through the Sanma Franjipani Association.
"The sport really helped me with my self confidence and fitness.
"I went back to school, even though I was much older than all of my classmates - but I did not let that deter me.”
She’s 15 now and has just completed Year 5 at Santo East coming in the top academic echelon in every subject. She shows the same drive to excel on the sports track.
The Vanuatu Paralympic Committee organized a Talent Identification Workshop in Luganville funded by Oceania Paralympic Committee and the AGITOS Foundation.
Dorian Naliupis of the Sanma Franjipani Organisation encouraged Moli to attend along with around 30 other athletes living with an impairment.
Of those attending, 11 were identified by the international coaches as having considerable potential. Moli was one of these.
“We followed up by running two further training camps in Santo run by Denni Kalenga, a Sports Coach from Ecole Central and Jessica Richardson an Australian Government funded volunteer from the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) Program working in VASANOC in Equity and Inclusion,” explains Margaret Macfarlane President of the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee.
“Marcelline’s results just kept on improving, so we included her in our team of five going to Australia for Commonwealth Games pre-selection.”
Moli, who had never previously traveled anywhere by plane, flew to Australia three weeks ago for the GAPS pre-selection camp for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Last week she was notified of her selection to compete in the April 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland in the F47 Javelin section!
She is proving to be an athlete to watch. The Mini Games are on now, the Commonwealth Games are next. The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games are only a few years away. Her rueful advice to others with big dreams in sport?
“Don’t climb mango trees!”