International Stoke Mandeville Games 1959: The Multi-sporters try the Pentathlon for the first time

Information on the Games of 1959 is actually quite scarce due to a printers strike that meant the local papers were not produced for almost a month and so no reports of the Games are available from those sources. The games that year took place from Thursday 23rd until Saturday 25th July. They attracted only seventeen nations whose participation can be verified from the results, although the names of Australia, Finland and Yugoslavia appear in the programme for the Games1. No mention is made anywhere in the available material of the total number of competitors, but the organisers were happy to point out that although the number of nations represented was actually less than the previous year they felt it was a significant feature that those countries that had sent official teams had sent teams that were far larger than in previous years2. Cyprus was represented for the very first time by Christos Antoniou, a private patient at Stoke Mandeville. The second National Stoke Mandeville Games to select the Great Britain team had been held at Stoke Mandeville from Friday 12th June until Saturday13th June3. The Games cost £969 to put on and the sale of programmes and admission fees raised £172 meaning the Games had a net cost of £7974.

Nations Represented

Austria         Belgium           Cyprus             Denmark         France             Germany Great Britain          India         Ireland        Israel               Italy                 Malta Netherlands           Norway           Portugal            Switzerland           USA

Following on from the decision made at the previous year’s meeting of trainers a pentathlon event was added to the sports programme to replace the competition for the team with best overall points score.

Sports: Archery   Club Throw    Dartchery    Javelin    Pentathlon     Shot Put     Snooker     Swimming      Table Tennis     Wheelchair Basketball      Wheelchair Fencing

Demonstrations:        Club Swinging

Prize Winners


Albion Round

1. O. Clarke (Great Britain)        621pts

2. Von Puymbroeck (Belgium) 607pts

Windsor Round

Winning Team

1. Great Britain          

(O. Clarke, Jim Priday, Jim Laird, J. Ross)                    2875pts

2. Belgium          

(Von Puymbroeck, Janssens, Dupont, Noerens)         2537pts

Highest Individual Score

1. O. Clarke (Great Britain)    784pts

2. Jim Priday (Great Britain) 752pts

Highest Individual Ladies Score

1. K. Comley (Great Britain) 654pts

2. A. Irvine (Great Britain)    619pts

Best Gold of the Day: Von Puymbroeck (Belgium)

Columbia Round

Winning Team

1. France                (Aubrey, Brecel, Trouverie, Jacquet)       1888pts

2. Great Britain      (Bradley, Gillett, Hall, Lidster)                  1867pts

Highest Individual Score

1. Aubrey (France)              526pts

2. Bradley (Great Britain) 507pts

Highest Individual Ladies Score

1. D. King (Great Britain)               334pts

2. Diane Gubbins (Great Britain) 333pts

Best Gold of the Day: J. Frade (Portugal)

St Nicholas Round

Highest Individual Score

1. Chataneuf (France)       613pts

2. Bouillier (Switzerland) 595pts

Highest Individual Junior Score

1. C. Embers (Great Britain)                  517pts

2. Paul Waddingham (Great Britain)  431pts

Best Gold of the Day: Moscone (Italy)


Both basketball finals were contested by exactly the same nations as the previous year, with the outcomes of both finals being the same also

Class A – Complete Lesions

1. Great Britain (Swindlehurst, Moran, Platten, Shiel, Foster, Thompson, McBride, Gasgoyne, Wann)

2. France (Reyland, Arpin, Etienne, Vagnon, Benhiaya, Degant)

Class B – Incomplete Lesions

1. USA (Welgar, Mabee, Acca, Micci, Foley, Tarantala, Mickel, Metzer, Contes, Kellog)

2. Netherlands (Hogenonins, Hogendoorn, Van Ommen, Kruidenier, Karkhouen, De Cloe)

Club Throw

Class A

1. Dick Thompson (Great Britain)      107ft 6.5ins

2. Percy Mabee (USA)                                95ft 0.5ins

Ladies: Baroness Waldenegg (Austria) 56ft 10.5ins

Class B

1. Acca (USA)                                     123ft 3.5ins

2. Russ Scott (Great Britain)        107ft 5.5ins

Ladies: E. Smith (Great Britain)    39ft 6ins


1. France (Aubrey, Trouverie)

2. Great Britain (O. Clarke, J. Ross)



1. Great Britain (Everson, Winters)

2. Italy (Ruschione, Rossi)

Individual Sabre

1. Ferrari (Italy)

2. Ruschione (Italy)

Individual Ladies Foil

1. Tosso (Italy)

2= Shelagh Jones (Great Britain)

2= K. Comley (Great Britain)

Javelin Throw

Class A

1. Dick Thompson (Great Britain)          60ft 2ins

2. Walter Telsnig (Germany)                    57ft 11.5ins

Ladies: Baroness Waldenegg (Austria) 24ft 8.5ins

Class B

1. Scott (Great Britain)                       76ft 9ins (New Record)

2. Nicholina (Italy)                               67ft 2.5ins

Ladies: J.E. Young (Great Britain) 26ft 0ins

Best Individual Throw of the Day: Scott (Great Britain) 76ft 9ins


A total of twelve athletes from five different nations entered the first ever pentathlon event at the Games. The five events chosen to make up the pentathlon were archery, javelin, club, shot putt and a sixty metre swim. The event, won by Franco Rossi of Italy, was deemed such a success that it was decided that higher lesion athletes would be allowed to enter the next year2.


    Archery Javelin Club
    Score Pts mts Pts mts Pts
Rossi ITA nk 915 19.81 1006 31.40 1036
Kruidenier NED nk 912 15.62 924 32.81 1064
Hepple GBR nk 968 19.91 1008 29.39 997


    Shot Putt   60m Swim    
    mts Pts sec Pts Total
Rossi ITA 6.05 981 53.0 1013 4951
Kruidenier NED 8.14 1022 52.0 1015 4937
Hepple GBR 6.62 993 61.8 966 4932

nk = Not Known

Shot Putt

Class A

1. Prossl (Germany)                         23ft 5.25ins (New Record)

2. Van Ommen (Netherlands)     22ft 11ins

Ladies: Tosso (Italy)                        10ft 1.25ins

Class B

1. Kruidenier (Netherlands) 24ft 11ins

2. Binnar (Germany)            24ft 7ins


1. Cliff Keaton (Great Britain)

2. Claude Markham (Malta)


Winning Team on Points

1= Great Britain & Germany

The following results have been located for swimming, but no names of the individual swimmers have been found, only their country. Where there were more than two entries in a single event qualifying heats were held with the two fastest swimmers competing against each other in the final.


Complete Cervicals – C7 (20 metres)


1.    Austria                   34.4                                        

2.    Great Britain        36.8                


1. Germany                  34.8

2. Great Britain           35.6


1. Austria                    w/o

Incomplete Cervicals – C7 (20 metres)


1.    Norway                w/o                 


1. USA                        56.4

Complete C8 – T6 (20 metres)


1.    Italy                      27.2                                        

2.    Italy                      29.6                               


1. Italy                         24.5

2. USA                         25.2


1. USA                         25.6

2. Italy                         26.8

Incomplete C8 – T6 (20 metres)


1.    Norway                w/o                                         


1. Norway                   w/o


1. Norway                   w/o

Complete T7 – T10 (40 metres)


1.    Austria                 57.2                                        

2.    Italy                      60.0                                        


1. Austria                    58.4

2. Italy                         58.0


1. Austria                    53.2

2. Italy                         54.9

Incomplete T7 – T10 (40 metres)


1.    Germany               43.8                                        

2.    Great Britain        48.5                                        


1. Germany                 43.6

2. Norway                   49.5


1. Germany                 35.4

2. Norway                   37.8

Complete T11 – L2 (40 metres)


1.    Great Britain        52.2                                        

2.    Germany               disq                                        


1. Austria                     49.5

2. Germany                 55.0


1. USA                           38.8

2. Germany                 38.9

Incomplete T11 – L2 (40 metres)


1.    Norway                 43.3                                        

2.    Germany              60.7                                        


1. Germany                 43.6

2. Norway                   46.8


1. Germany                 33.0

2. Italy                         33.4

Cauda Equina (40 metres)


1.    Great Britain        71.0                                        

2.    USA                         74.0                                                                


1. USA                        w/o


1. Italy                            31.4

2. Netherlands             33.0

Junior Boys (20 metres)


1.    Norway                  20.4                                        

2.    Great Britain        34.8                


1. Great Britain           27.0

2. Great Britain           49.6


1. Great Britain           17.0


Incomplete Cervicals – C7 (20 metres)


1.    Netherlands          33.2                


1. Netherlands             35.6

Incomplete C8 – T6 (20 metres)


1.    Great Britain        33.1                

2.    Germany               38.0


1. Great Britain           31.1

Complete C8 – T6 (20 metres)


1.    Ireland                   41.7                

2.    Great Britain        55.2                


1. Ireland                       36.0

2. Netherlands             37.1

Complete T7 – T10 (40 metres)


1.    Austria                    51.5                                        

2.    Great Britain        70.2                


1. Austria                      59.0

2. Great Britain           68.4


1. Austria                    w/o

Complete T11 – L2 (40 metres)


1.    Italy                         66.2                                        

2.    Great Britain        70.8    


1. Great Britain           93.0


1. Italy                            67.6

Cauda Equina (40 metres)


1.    Germany                47.0                                                    

2.    Great Britain        70.0                


1. Germany                     47.2

2. Great Britain           110.0


1. Germany                 w/o

Junior Girls (20 metres)


1.    Great Britain        30.2

2.    Great Britain        31.5

w/o = walk over

Table Tennis


Class A:

1. Taylor (Great Britain)                    

2. Jacobs (Netherlands)

Class B:

1. Fliesse (Austria)                             

2. Rangger (Austria)

Class C:

1. Swindlehurst (Great Britain)         

2. Phillips (Great Britain)


Class A:

1. Beck & Taylor (Great Britain)  

2. Jacob & Schrauner (Netherlands)

Class B:

1. Fliesse & Rangger (Austria)       

2. Lustig & Kirschner (Israel)

Class C:

1. Telsnig & Rangger (Austria)      

2. Zarilli & Balucchi (Italy)

Guests of Honour

The main guest of honour at this year’s Games was the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who was not only a Vice Patron of the Endowment Fund, but also Patron of the National Spinal Injuries Unit itself. Countess Mountbatten took the salute at the wheel-past of nations, supported by Air Chief Marshall Sir Dermot Boyle and Dr Guttmann. She then went on to give a speech and present the trophies and medals, Apparently, due to an organisational error they turned out to be a couple of medals short, but Countess Mountbatten quickly saved the situation by firstly unbuttoning her own then Dr Walsh’s button-hole and handing them to the ‘delighted’ winners in place of their medal2.

Once again a Trainer’s Meeting was held on the Sunday after the Games. As well as a number of slight rule changes or rule clarifications it was decided that it was necessary to form an International Standing Committee of the Stoke Mandeville Games. In doing so it was decided that Great Britain should be a permanent member of the Committee and that that the Country hosting the Games in future Olympic years should also be a member. It was also decided that the committee should consist of five members and the first five nations voted onto this committee were as follows:

  1. Great Britain
  2. Italy (as the hosts of the 1960 Games)
  3. The Netherlands (as the country that first put the Games on an international basis)
  4. Belgium
  5. France

Dr Guttmann was elected President and Joan Scruton was appointed as Secretary of the committee2.


1. Programme for The 1959 Stoke Mandeville Games (The International Sports Festival of the Paralysed) dated 23rd-25th July. (IWAS Archives)

2. Scruton, J., 1959, The National and International 1959 Stoke Mandeville Games, in The Cord, Vol. 11(3&4); p. 7-26.

3. Star & Garter Magazine, 1959, 1959 British Stoke Mandeville Games, July; p.15-16.

4. Paraplegic Sports Endowment Fund, 1959, Fourth Annual Report and Abstract of Accounts 1958-1959 (IWAS Archives)



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