Rhodesia at the Paralympics

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Rhodesia at the Paralympic Games

Flag of Southern Rhodesia
IPC code   RHO
Paralympic history
Summer Games
Other related appearances
Zimbabwe (1980–)

Rhodesia was one of the participants at the inaugural Paralympic Games in 1960 in Rome, where one of its two representatives was Margaret Harriman, in swimming and archery.[1] The country took part in every edition of the Summer Paralympics until 1972. Although Rhodesia was barred from all Olympics from 1968 until its disestablishment in 1979 after its 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom, it was allowed to participate in the 1968 Tel Aviv and 1972 Heidelberg games because politicians, both from Britain and the host nations of the games, were unwilling to sanction athletes with disabilities.[1] However, the Canadian government refused to grant visas for the Rhodesian Paralympic team to attend the 1976 Toronto Paralympics.[1]

Rhodesia ceased to exist before the 1980 Summer Paralympics, in which its successor state, Zimbabwe, competed.[2]

Over their four appearances, Rhodesians won a total of 21 gold medals, 18 silver and 15 bronze. As one of two Rhodesians at the 1960 Games, Margaret Harriman won her country's first two gold medals, in archery. She won two more in archery four years later, along with a gold in dartchery, in the mixed pairs' open, with George Mann. Lynette Gilchrist won five gold medals in 1964: one in club throw, one in javelin and three in swimming. Leslie Manson-Bishop also took two gold medals in swimming that year. In 1968, all Rhodesia's gold medals came from swimming, with Jacequeline Thompson (one), Sandra Coppard (two), Leslie Manson-Bishop (two) and Andrew James Scott (one). This was also the case in 1972, when Sandra James won two gold and Scott took one, all in swimming. James and Scott went on to compete for Zimbabwe, winning a number of silver and bronze medals in 1980.[2][3]