Tributes flow for archery legend Fairhall

International archery organisations have paid tribute to Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Olympian Neroli Fairhall, who died on Sunday at the age of 61.

Fairhall was the first paraplegic to compete in the Olympic Games, shooting for New Zealand in Los Angeles in 1984. She 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 Paralympics, IPC-Archery World Championships and many international tournaments, said Archery New Zealand president Colin Mitchell.

Fairhall, awarded an MBE for services to the sport, competed at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney.

She continued to coach at the Christchurch archery club after retiring from shooting and "inspired all who came into contact with her", said Mr Mitchell. Tributes to Fairhall had been received from the International Paralympic Committee [Archery], the Grand National Archery Society of Great Britain and the Oceania region, he said.

Fairhall was paralysed in a motorbike accident at the age of 22.

Oceania Archery Confederation president Carole Hicks said Fairhall had suffered illnesses relating to her disability.

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