The Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame welcomed five new members on Friday (9 September) during an induction ceremony at the Grand Mercure Hotel in Rio.
The late Fairhall of New Zealand was inducted posthumously. Carol Hicks, Judges Commission at Archery New Zealand and Chairperson at World Archery, and Selwyn Maister, Chairperson on the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of New Zealand, attended on Fairhall’s behalf.
“For us, she was an absolute figurehead,” Hicks said of Fairhall, who became the first athlete with an impairment to compete in the Olympics. “Once she won the Commonwealth Games title in 1982, she was a complete household name. And people [aged] around 50 years onward who live in New Zealand – they know Neroli Fairhall.”
Launched in 2006, by founding partner Visa, the Paralympic Hall of Fame aims to recognise retired athletes and coaches who have a track record of excellent athletic performance, history of fair play and participation in community activities.
With this year’s induction coinciding with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, only athletes and coaches involved in summer sports were considered.