by Doyin Jaiyesimi
For Danielle, it all started at the age of 7 when she nurtured big dreams of “competing in a race in a big stadium in a cold city”. Now she is living that dream as she is the youngest athlete to qualify to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. She will represent Fiji at the Olympics and she will run the Women’s 400 and 200 meters race; an achievement which has impressed her fellow team mates. She is described as “one of the hardest working athletes you’ll ever find.”
As part of her preparations for the Olympics, Danielle has been training at the Lea Valley Athletic Centre in Edmonton, London alongside world famous Olympic champions. According to Danielle, “much of her training and preparation has been about learning to perform in a high pressure environment and compete at the highest level.”
Even with the intense training routine she has to follow, her trainer, Maurice Green, four time Olympic medallist and 5-time world champion, has told Danielle to just go to the Olympics and have fun. “Just enjoy the whole Olympic movement. Don’t have high expectations, just enjoy the whole Olympic movement,” he says.
Speaking on her greatest achievement, Danielle says running in the Olympics “is going to be amazing.”
Athletics is her passion and she intends to make the most of the opportunity she has. Athletics however is not Danielle’s only passion. Not only does she have dreams of becoming a world class athlete, she also has dreams of becoming a successful lawyer in the next 10 years. She also has a passion for film and photography.
You may wonder how she plans to balance school with athletics. Well, Danielle has it all figured out. “It is really about time management,” she says. “Focusing on my priorities and keeping away from distraction. I’ve learned to catch up quickly on things that need to get done, and as long as I stick to my priorities, things usually work like clockwork.”
With a strong determination and focus, there’s no stopping her until she has achieved her dreams. Of course, Danielle is realistic about her chances in the Olympics with her status as a first time Olympian. Although competing in the Olympics for the first time may be nerve-racking, she is very optimistic and she intends to use all the knowledge and experience she gains to help her prepare for Rio 2016
Danielle is a citizen of three countries: England, Nigeria, and Fiji. Born in London to a mother from Nigeria and a father who has roots in Brazil and England, she has spent most of her life in Fiji. Her personal best times going into the Olympics are 24.32 seconds on the 200m and 55 seconds in the 400m.
Danielle will have to work hard to win the coveted gold medal. Nonetheless, she remains an inspiration to other teenagers who also have big dreams like she does.