Neroli Fairhall
Neroli Fairhall.jpg
Personal information
Birth nameNeroli Susan Fairhall
Born(1944-08-26)26 August 1944
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died11 June 2006(2006-06-11) (aged 61)
CountryNew Zealand

Neroli Susan Fairhall MBE (26 August 1944 – 11 June 2006) was a New Zealand athlete, who was the first paraplegic competitor in the Olympic Games.


Born in Christchurch in 1944, Fairhall took up archery following a motorbike accident that paralysed her from the waist down, ending her previous athletic career. She was able to compete in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, shooting for New Zealand and finishing in 35th place. Fairhall was the first paraplegic to compete in the Olympic Games.[1]

Fairhall won gold when archery was first introduced to the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982.

A national champion for many years, Fairhall won medals and held titles at the Paralympics, IPC-Archery World Championships and many international tournaments. She participated in four Summer Paralympics, in 1972, 1980, 1988, and 2000. At her first Paralympic Games she competed in track and field athletics.[2] At the 1980 Games, she took part in both athletics and archery, winning a gold medal in the latter sport. At the 1988 and 2000 Paralympics she competed in archery only.[3]

In the 1983 New Year Honours, Fairhall was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for services to archery and the disabled.[4] She continued to coach at her Christchurch archery club after retiring from shooting. She died on 11 June 2006, aged 61, due to illness arising from her disability.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Tributes flow for archery legend Fairhall". The New Zealand Herald. 13 June 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Tributes flow for Fairhall | OTHER SPORTS | SPORT |". Archived from the original on 18 June 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Neroli Fairhall". International Paralympic Committee.
  4. ^ "No. 49214". The London Gazette (3rd supplement). 31 December 1982. p. 48.


Awards Preceded byDavid Barnes and Hamish Willcox Lonsdale Cup of the New Zealand Olympic Committee 1982 Succeeded byDavid Barnes and Hamish Willcox