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N.L. athletes inducted into Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Hall of Fame

Mel Fitzgerald, left, and Joanne MacDonald.
Mel Fitzgerald, left, and Joanne MacDonald. - Submitted

Two athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador recently became members of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association’s (CWSA) Hall of Fame.

Mel Fitzgerald and Joanne MacDonald were inducted during a ceremony in Ottawa on Dec. 17.

MacDonald, who was raised in St. Mary’s, became involved in wheelchair sports in 1972.

Her first national competition was in Vancouver, B.C. in 1973. MacDonald won numerous medals, representing Canada at three Pan American Games, two super challenges, three international wheelchair basketball competitions and the International Stoke Manville Games. She was a member of the women’s wheelchair national basketball team from 1975 to 1984 and is a three-time Paralympian.

Born in Trepassey, Fitzgerald became involved in wheelchair sports in 1977, excelling as a wheelchair track athlete.

He won marathons in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Honolulu and represented Canada at two Paralympics, two Pan American Games and the 1984 Gold Cup in Australia. He won gold medals at each of these competitions and set two world records at the 1980 Paralympics.

In a news release today, Dec. 10, Lisa Dempster, provincial minister responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, offered her congratulations to MacDonald and Fitzgerald.

“I commend them both on representing our province on the national and international stage, and on serving as role models for other athletes,” she said.

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