Neroli Fairhall

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Neroli Fairhall, MBE

Neroli Fairhall was the first athlete with paraplegia to win a gold medal at a Commonwealth Games, and the first ever to compete at an Olympics. In 1982, she won a gold medal for archery at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. This brought huge international media attention, which she refers to in this 1982 radio interview, in which she reflects back on that momentous year.   

International interest in Fairhall intensified when she qualified for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where she finished 35th in her event. (She had been selected to compete at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but New Zealand athletes joined the boycott of those Games in protest at the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.)

Fairhall had competed in many different field events as a Paralympian during the 1970s, after being severely injured in a car accident in Christchurch in 1969. The switch to archery saw her become the national champion and go on to international success. She continued coaching archery and competing up until 2000 and passed away in 2001 at the age of 61. 

Fairhall was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to archery and the disabled community.

Find out more about Neroli Fairhall:

Read Neroli Fairhall's athlete profile on the NZ Olympic website. 

Read an Obituary to Neroli FairhallNZ Herald.

Image: courtesy of

Catalogue Reference 25696

Year 1982


Radio New Zealand

Excerpt: 00:01:46

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