The equipment may now seem archaic, but the tension and anticipation is evident before the ‘wheelchair dash’ events at the 1972 summer Paralympics. After the chairs and the position of athletes at the start line for the men’s Class 2 100m sprint event are checked, it’s time to race. Australian Ray Barrett won bronze in his event. Frank Ponta’s race is interesting – there is no official record of Ponta competing in track events in 1972, his chair does not have push rims (so that he is pushing directly on the tyres) and he is not wearing a number! These days, all the chairs seen here would be deemed unsuitable for everyday use, let alone racing.
Date: August 1972
Author: Video by permission of Don Worley, from the National Film and Sound Archive.