Paralympic Games

25th Anniversary of Bucks Hosting Paralympic Games

25th Anniversary of Bucks Hosting Paralympic Games
Table Tennis Competitions – used by kind permission of Wheelpower
It was 25 years ago today that the last Paralympic Games to be held on British soil were hosted at Stoke Mandeville, the Buckinghamshire venue stepped in to host the games after the initial venue, Champagne, Illinois pulled out less than four months ahead of the games.

The Games in Stoke Mandeville, were held from 22 July to 1 August. The British Paraplegic Sports Society (BPSS) organized the Games at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium and more than 1,100 athletes from 41 countries competed in 14 events over the 10 days of competition.

The Opening Ceremony on 22 July was attended by HRH Prince Charles, who officially opened the Games. A crowd of 3,000 cheered on the teams in the wheel-past. Athletes competed in 10 events: Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Fencing, Lawn Bowls, Powerlifting, Shooting, Snooker, Swimming and Table Tennis. For the first time, a wheelchair marathon was held.
The games were jointly hosted with New York. which hosted the competitions for les autres athletes, cerebral palsy athletes and visually impaired athletes while athletes with spinal cord disabilities competed in Stoke Mandeville.

Each of the disability groups produced outstanding performances. American amputee athlete Jim Martinson set a new world record in the 100m wheelchair race in 17.13 seconds. Mustapha Badid of France took the gold in the 800m wheelchair race with a time of 2:17.27 minutes. Charles Reid of the USA gained recognition as a top cerebral palsy athlete when he took the gold in Powerlifting, a demonstration event at the Games. Visually impaired athlete Winford Haynes of the US won the gold in the 100m dash in 11.78 seconds. At the final medal tally, the USA topped the table with 276 medals, 101 of which were gold. Britain was next with 240 medals, including 75 gold.