Isabel Newstead MBE

Born Isabel Barr in Glasgow, Isabel swam competitively as a young girl.  In her late teens her spinal cord was damaged by a virus which left her paralysed from the neck down.  In 1975, as part of her rehabilitation, she joined the Port Glasgow Otters Swimming Club and eventually caught the attention of the British Paralympic swimming team.  

Isabel made her Paralympic debut in Arnhem in the Netherlands in 1980 and went on to compete at seven Paralympic Games in events as diverse as swimming, discus and shooting.  In Arnhem she won three gold and one silver medal.  

At the 1984 Paralympic Games, held here at Stoke Mandeville she won an incredible nine medals across three sports.  A truly remarkable achievement.   She was a trailblazer for women and for athletes with a high level physical disability.  

Having given up swimming Isabel next headed to the Seoul Paralympic Games in 1988 where she won a further four medals in athletics and shooting.  And it is for her skill in air-pistol shooting Isabel is best remembered as she won three Paralympic gold medals.

Isabel sadly passed away in 2007 following an illness but will be remembered for being an extremely talented athlete who was focussed and ahead of her time.  Isabel competed at the Paralympic Games for over two decades.  She was a great ambassador for wheelchair sport, an outstanding role model and an inspiration for up and coming athletes.

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