Stuart Minifie #66
Stuart comes from Wainuiomata and had been diagnosed at birth with spina bifida.
He always enjoyed sport and especially bench press able body weightlifting breaking Precious McKenzie’s junior New Zealand record.
When weightlifting started to make his disability worse his neurosurgeon at the time Graham Martin, suggested that he should get into wheelchair racing. That’s what he did, and with the help of his new coach Brian Lynch, Stuart qualified to the 1987 International Stoke Mandeville Games*. Stuart says that “Brian was a master at getting me to peak at exactly the right time for whatever competition I was entering.”
His first international competition at Stoke Mandeville was very successful as Stuart won 4 medals: gold in the 200m 1C, silver in the 100m 1C, and bronze in the 400m and 800m 1C, racing in a $30.00 home built wheelchair.
Just 1 year later, Stuart competed at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, along with 16 other New Zealand Paralympians who collectively won 17 medals. In South Korea, Stuart won a silver medal in the 200m 1C. By that time he had acquired a custom-built racing wheelchair.
After his retirement from Para athletics in 1990, Stuart became involved in indoor bowls and was in the Hutt Valley able bodied representative team for several years.
Stuart received his ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin as part of The Celebration Project in Wellington in November 2020.
* The Stoke Mandeville Games were organized as a multi-sport event for wheelchair athletes only.