Australia at the 1980 Summer Paralympics

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Australia at the
1980 Summer Paralympics
Flag of Australia.svg
IPC code AUS
NPC Australian Paralympic Committee
in Arnhem
Ranked 14th
Gold Silver Bronze Total
12 21 22 55
Summer Paralympics appearances (overview)

Australia competed at the 1980 Summer Paralympics in Arnhem, Netherlands. It was the 6th Summer Paralympic game in which Australia competed. Australia won 55 medals – 12 gold, 21 silver and 22 bronze medals. Australia competed in 10 sports and won medals in 6 sports. It finished 14th on the gold medal table and 9th on the total medal table.[1]

Notable Australian performances were:

  • In amputee athletes class:
    • Charmaine Cree winning 5 medals in athletics – 1 gold medal, 1 silver medal and 3 bronze medals[1]
    • Wayne Lanham winning 2 medals in athletics – 1 gold and 1 silver medal[1]
    • Gary Gudgeon winning 4 medals in swimming – 1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal[1]
  • In vision impaired athletes:
  • In spinal cord injury athletes class:
    • Wayne Patchett, an Australian thrower, winning 3 gold medals[1]
    • Eric Russell won a gold medal and two bronze medals[1]
    • Michael Nugent won the silver medal in the 400metres, but his most notable performance was the 200metres event when he set a world record that was subsequently as the best individual performance by an Australian wheelchair athlete in 1980[2]
    • Female shooters Barbara Caspers and Elizabeth Kosmala winning 6 medals between them including 2 gold medals[1]
  • Australian athletics team winning 34 medals out of the 55 medals won by Australia.[1]


"I encourage all disabled people to follow your example and take an active part in sporting activities" This was the line delivered to the Paralympic team by the Prime minister at the time, Mr Malcolm Fraser. He remarked that "These Olympics are the culmination of many years of dedication and hard work." He congratulated the team "on behalf of the Government and all Australians" and wished them good luck and success. He spoke to the team on June 18 1980 and this was reported on in the national newspaper ‘The Australian’.[3]

To compete in the 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem, the athletes were required to raise their own funding for travel expenses as there was no governing body in Australia at the time.[4] One particular wheelchair athlete (Fred Pointer) was reported to be travelling from Melbourne to Sydney in his wheelchair to raise funds. He completed this in a wheelchair he designed his self.[5]


1980 Australian Amputee Team - Arnhem, Holland

Australia competed in 3 classes of 4 in 10 sports and won medals in six sports. Amputee athletes in Australia did not have a national body but the previous experiences at the Torontolympiad and at the Sydney FESPIC Games provided the impetus for individual athletes to attend Arnhem. There were no selection trials and the 11 athletes who competed had to cover their cost to get and from the Games.[4] There were also eleven vision-impaired athletes from Australia who attended Arnhem. These athletes had the advantage of a national organisation, formed in the same year as the Arnhem Games, which raised funds and assisted in preparation in participation. The biggest contingent of Australians at Arnhem was athletes with a spinal cord injury and they experienced the most success winning a total of 34 medals. Even though the 1980 Paralympic Games were the first time that cerebral palsy athletes joined spinal cord injury, blind and amputees athletes at the Paralympics, Australia did not have a national organisation and did not send any cerebral palsy athletes.

The team was led by Coach Terry Keneghan.





Australia represented by:
Men - Dennis Kennedy, Eric Klein, Ian Trewhella
WomenSusan Davies
Australia won a silver medal through Ian Trewhella's performance in Men's short metric round tetraplegic.


Australia represented by:
MenRene Ahrens, Chris Alp, Rene Andres, Paul Bird, Kevin Bishop, Donald Dann, Joe Egan, Robert Faulkner, Peter Hill, Erich Hubel, Barry Kalms, Wayne Lanham, Peter Marsh, John Martin, Michael McFawn, Robert McIntyre, Jeff McNeil, Brian McNicholl, David McPherson, Kevin Munro, Michael Nugent, Richard Oliver, Wayne Patchett, Fred Pointer, Eric Russell, Bruce Sandilands, John Sheil, Murray Todd, Ian Trewhella, Robert Turner
WomenCharmaine Cree, Sue Hobbs, Julie Langhorne, Pam Nugent, Julie Russell, J. Wilson
[1] Athletics was Australia's most successful team winning 34 medals - 8 gold, 9 silver and 17 bronze medals.[1]


Australia represented by:
Men - ?
Women -  ? Australia did not win any medals.


Australia represented by:
Men - Robert Faulkner, David (Dave) Manera, Robert McIntyre, Bruce Sandilands
Australia did not win a medal.

Lawn Bowls[edit]

Australia represented by:
Men – Mike McGuire, N. Hunter, E. Wratten
WomenGloria Pascoe
Australia won a gold medal through Gloria Pascoe in women's singles B.[1]


Australia represented by:
WomenBarbara Caspers, Elizabeth Kosmala, Gloria Pascoe
Australia won 6 medals - 2 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 1 bronze medal[1]


Australia represented by:
Men - Rene Andres, Paul Bird, Peter Carroll, Gary Gudgeon, Peter Hill, Dennis Kennedy, David (Dave) Manera, David McPherson, Charlie Tapscott
WomenCarolyn Connors, Maureen Pybus
Australia won 11 medals - 1 gold, 8 silver medals and 2 bronze medals. Gary Gudgeon won the gold medal.[1]

Table Tennis[edit]

Australia represented by:
Men – Donald Dann, Peter Marsh, John Martin, John Sheil, Charlie Tapscott
Australia did not win any medals.[1]


Australia represented by:
MenBarry Kalms, Brian McNicholl, John Sheil
Australia won 2 bronze medals.[1]

Wheelchair Basketball[edit]

Australia represented by:
Men - Rene Ahrens, Robert Augustine, Kevin Bishop, Peter Burt, Kevin Coombs, Len Ettridge, Erich Hubel, Robert McIntyre, Brian McNicholl, Kevin Munro, Richard Oliver, Fred Pointer[1]

Australian results: United States d Australia 87-36 ; Japan d Australia 77-50 ; Spain d Australia 73-56 ; Australia d Denmark 53-33 ; Great Britain d Australia 62-33 ; Germany d Australia 58-49 ; Australia d Brazil 68-44 ; Australia d Denmark 48-37[6]

Australia did not win a medal.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Several oral histories are available online from Australian athletes who competed at the Games

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Australian results at the 1980 Arnhem Paralympics". International Paralympic Committee Historical Results Database. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Epstein, Step by step we conquer, 48.
  3. ^ "PM praises one team that did go". The Australian. 19 Jun 1980. 
  4. ^ a b Smith,The Paralympic Story,98-99.
  5. ^ "Man in wheelchair reaches Goulburn". The Canberra Times. 6 Jun 1979. Retrieved 28 Oct 2015 – via Trove. 
  6. ^ "ports scene". Paraquad News (July/August 1980): 26.