Fifty-three Australian athletes competed at the Arnhem Paralympics. The largest contingent was made up of 31 wheelchair athletes, while there were 11 amputee and 11 vision impaired competitors. All three disability groups operated autonomously and independently. Wheelchair and vision impaired athletes had national organisations, but amputees were challenged because they to organize their own funding, uniforms and travel without out the advantages of an Australia-wide body.
Even without a national organization, amputee athletes performed very well, winning 16 medals. Charmaine Cree won 5 medals in athletics, including a gold in high jump. Other gold medalist amputees included Wayne Lanham in athletics, and Gary Gudgeon in swimming. Spinal Cord Injury athletes, the largest contingent of the Australian team, achieved the most success, winning a total of 34 medals. Mike Nugent produced the best individual performance by an Australian at the Games when we won the 200 metres track event, setting a new world record in the process. Other gold medallists included Wayne Patchett, Eric Russell, Murray Todd, Barbara Caspers, and Libby Kosmala. In all, Australian athletes won a total of 55 medals to rank 14th on the medal table.
Fifty-three Australian athletes competed at the Arnhem Paralympics.
Date: June 1980