1992 Paralympics: Athletes with Intellectual Impairment 25 Year Anniversary

The Australian team of athletes with an intellectual disability attended the 1992 Paralympics in Madrid from 15 to 22 September 1992.  Over 1600 athletes competed at the Games across 5 Sports: Athletics, Basketball, Futsal, Swimming and Table Tennis.  Australia competed in all sports except Table Tennis. Australia’s team of 51 athletes and 18 officials finished on top of the medal tally with a total of 31 medals (13 Gold, 10 Silver and 8 Bronze).

Chef de Mission of the Australian team and AUSRAPID official, Marie Little,  acknowledged the historical moment in her opening comments ‘The historical coming together of elite athletes with a disability [on the] Australian Team, albeit competing at two locations in the 1992 Summer Paralympics, Barcelona and Madrid, was a great achievement’

Swimmer Joseph Walker won nine gold medals and newspaper reports likened his medal success to multiple Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz. Swimmers Joshua Hofer and Rene Hardenbol won five gold medals.  Women’s basketball team now known as the Pearls won the gold medal.

Indigenous athletes Donna Burns and Alice Toogood entertained athletes in the Village with a demonstration of Boomerang  throwing.

When the athletes from Madrid arrived home they were specifically invited and enjoyed the impressive public reception in Sydney. Marie Little described what this meant to those who were involved in the Madrid competition: I don’t think any participant will experience a similar feeling ever – the superb Fairstar dinner and the unbelievable Tickertape Parade were mind blowing – my heart was pumping, my eyes misty, my throat choked – in the crowd British Airways staff, bankers and paper sellers, little kids and their mums and dads, people in wheelchairs and bouncing babies – bands and music, sunshine and cheers. Little concluded: ‘Thanks to all for thanking the Paralympians’

Queen’s Birthday Awards were announced in 1993, the successes of athletes with an intellectually disability were acknowledged by OAMs with the dedication: ‘for service to sport as a gold medallist at the Paralympic Games, Madrid, 1992’


Team Staff

Chef de Mission: Marie T Little OAM

General Team Manager: Jan Sutherland

Administrator: Colleen Bennett

Media Director: Paul Griffiths

Doctor: Susan White

Physiotherapist: Barbara Denson

Male Team Captain: Russell Torrance

Female Team Captain: Sarah Jane Schulze


Women: Madelyn Ehlers, Kaye Freeman, Norma Koplick, Rachel Nugent, Anne Walsh

Men: Wayne Bauer, Anton Flavel, Paul Mitchell, Jason Newman, Michael Stevens, Russell Torrance, Wayne Wright

Head Coach: Scott Goodman

Asst Coach: Robyn Hanson

Manager: Wendy Ey


Women: Lorraine Archer, Tanya Atcheson, Donna Burns, Gladys Delaney, Melissa Gallacher, Fiona Hinds, Annette Kelly, Tina Kenna, Christine Humphries, Alice Toogood

Head Coach: Margaret Sheriff

Manager: Robyn Smith


Men: Michael Atcheson,Michael Glover, David Henry, Tony Hopewell, Mark Konings, John Lettice, Rodney Meddings, Lee Medwin, Dean Papworth, John Wright

Head Coach: Mark Walker

Asst Coach: Tony Guihot


Men: Jurgen Berens, Stephen Choat, John Fitter, Mark Harvey, Rob Lewis, Luis Marcellino, Willy Moen, Raymond Neaves, John Ruiz, Tony Thompson

Head CoachTerry Pearce

Asst Coach: Jack De Cesco

Manager: Bruce Drake


Women: Brigit Bromhead, Sarah Jane Schulze, Stacey Smith, Justine Van Eyssen

Men: Jason Cooper, Rene Hardenbol, Joshua Hofer, Tim Krahe, Joseph Walker

Head Coach: John Boland

Asst Coach: Mark Lucas

Manager: Jill Gates




Gold: Anton Flavel (WA) – Men’s Javelin

Silver: Madelyn Ehlers (QLD) – Women’s Shot Put

Silver: Madelyn Ehlers (QLD) – Women’s Discus

Silver: Paul Mitchell (WA) – Men’s 1500m

Bronze: Anton Flavel (WA) – Men’s High Jump

Bronze: Anton Flavel (WA) – Men’s Discus

Bronze: Kaye Freeman (QLD) – Women’s Javelin

Bronze: Racquel Nugent (QLD) – Women’s Long Jump


Gold: Lorraine Archer (NSW), Tanya Atcheson (NSW), Donna Burns (VIC), Gladys Delaney (VIC), Melissa Gallacher (SA), Fiona Hinds (NSW), Annette Kelly (SA), Tina Kenna (TAS), Christine Humphries (VIC), Alice Toogood (SA)


Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW) – Men’s 100 m Freestyle

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW) – Men’s 200 m Freestyle

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW) – Men’s 400 m Freestyle

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW) – Men’s 50 m Butterfly

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW) – Men’s 100 m Butterfly

Gold: Rene Hardenbol (WA) – Men’s 200 m Backstroke

Gold: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 100 m Backstroke

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW), Joshua Hofer (WA), Rene Hardenbol (WA), Jason Cooper (TAS) – Men’s 4 x 50 m Freestyle

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW), Joshua Hofer (WA), Rene Hardenbol (WA), Jason Cooper (TAS) – Men’s 4 × 100 m Freestyle

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW), Joshua Hofer (WA), Rene Hardenbol (WA), Jason Cooper (TAS) – Men’s 4 x 50 m Medley

Gold: Joseph Walker (NSW), Joshua Hofer (WA), Rene Hardenbol (WA), Jason Cooper (TAS) – Men’s 4 × 100 m Medley

Silver: Rene Hardenbol (WA) – Men’s 100 m Freestyle

Silver: Rene Hardenbol (WA) – Men’s 200 m Breaststroke

Silver: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 50 m Butterfly

Silver: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 100 m Butterfly

Silver: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 50 m Backstroke

Silver: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 200 m Backstroke

Silver: Justine Van Eyssen (SA), Stacey Smith (NSW), Brigid Bromhead (ACT), Sarah-Jane Schulze (NSW) – Women’s 4 × 100 m Freestyle

Bronze: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 200 m Freestyle

Bronze: Joshua Hofer (WA) – Men’s 400 m Freestyle

Bronze: Justine Van Eyssen (SA), Stacey Smith (NSW), Brigid Bromhead (ACT), Sarah-Jane Schulze (NSW) – Women’s 4 x 50 m Freestyle

Bronze: Justine Van Eyssen (SA), Stacey Smith (NSW), Brigid Bromhead (ACT), Sarah-Jane Schulz (NSW) –  Women’s 4 x 50 m Medley


Paul Mitchell


Anton Flavel (WA): Javelin (Gold)  51.52m, Discus (Bronze) 27.0m, High Jump (Bronze) 1.69m

Kaye Freeman (QLD): Javelin (Bronze) 24.16m

Racquel Nugent (QLD): Long Jump  (Bronze) 4.33m

Madelyn Ehlers (QLD): Discus (Silver) 21.32m, Shot Put (Silver) 8.61m

Paul Mitchell (WA): 1500m (Silver) 4:19:64



Australia 48         France 27 (Donna Burns 22 pts);

Australia 47         Greece 32 (Donna Burns 31 pts);

Australia 65         Brazil 14 (Donna Burns 36 pts, Christine Humphries 13 pts) ;

Australia 60         Great Britain 19 (Annette Kelly 18 pts, Alice Toogood 12 pts, Donna Burns 12 pts).



Australia  53
Greece 21
(Donna Burns 24 pts, Christine Humphries 14 pts, Alice Toogood 8 pts,Annette Kelly 7 pts),

Left to right: Margaret Sheriff (Women’s Head Coach), Tanya Atheson (4), Lorraine Archer (5), Fiona Hinds (6), Tina Kenna (7), Gladys Delaney VIC (8) Donna Burns VIC (9), Christine Humphries VIC (10), Melissa Gallacher SA (11), Annette kelly SA (12), Alice Toogood SA (14), Robyn Smith (Manager).

The Australia women’s 53-21 win over Greece was Australia’s first medal win in Olympic or Paralympic Basketball.



Australia 131  Jordan 13

Australia 65    Great Britain 20 (David Henry 28 points, Tony Hopewell 10 points);

Australia 54    Dominican Republic 111 (Tony Hopewell 20 points, David Henry 14 points);

Australia 19    Puerto Rico 137

Australia finished 7th overall

Australian team member Rodney Meddings at the Madrid Games


Australia 5            Czech and Slovak Republic 1 (Mark Harvey 1, Stephen Choat 1, John Fitter 1, Rob                                 Lewis 1, John Ruiz 1) ;

Australia 3            Germany 3-7 (John Ruiz 2, Mark Harvey 1);

Australia 6            Colombia 0 (Ray Neaves 2, Mark Harvey 2, John Ruiz 2);

Australia 0            Greece 5


Australia finished first on the swimming medal tally winning 23 medals – 11 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze medals.  Joseph Walker won nine gold medals out of nine events which at the time was unmatched in Australia’s Paralympic history.  Joshua Hofer won eleven medals including five gold. Rene Hardenbol won seven medals including five gold. The Men’s relay team won four gold medals in world record time.  The women’s relay team winning a silver and two bronze medals.

Sarah Jane Schulze at the Madrid Games


Multiple medalists Joshua Hofer (left) with Joseph Walker (right) at the Madrid Games


Athletes Stacey Smith (NSW), Tina Kenna (Tasmania), Tim Krahe (South Australia), Michael Glover (Tasmania) with Team administrator Colleen Bennett in the Australian Team office during the 1992 Madrid Games.