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Frank Ponta interviewed by Robin Poke in the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 4901272
Format AudioAudio, OnlineOnline [sound recording]
Ponta, Frank, 1935-2011, Interviewee
Online Access
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2010 June 4 
2 sound files (ca. 118 min.) 

Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project.

Technical Details

Mode of access: Online. 


Frank Ponta born 1935 in Subiaco, Western Australia, talks about his family; his parents; his early school days and memories; representing his school in athletics; his siblings; injuring his back in his teens; becoming paralysed in both legs; starting rehabilitation at the Perth Spinal Injury Ward in (1954); training with Johno Johnston; his passion for sport; transferring to the Melville Rehab Centre; working as a glass blower; sports for wheelchair athletes and the introduction of wheelchair racing in the (1960s); Sir Ludwig Gutmann; the Stoke Mandeville Games (1957); competing in field events and fencing; basketball gaining popularity and the first competition taking place (1956-1957); his interest in chess; the Western Australian team remaining undefeated at the Australian Wheelchair Basketball Championships from (1960-1972); the Rome Paralympics inspired many athletes in Australia to get involved in sport; his marriage to Margaret (1962); settling in Adelaide; playing for South Australia in the third National Wheelchair Basketball Championships; coaching basketball in South Australia; being selected for the Tokyo Paralympics; his success in fencing and winning a silver medal.

Ponta speaks about winning a gold medal in the backstroke; the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics; moving to Melbourne in (1965); his son's birth; the Commonwealth Games in Jamaica; Mr Bedbrook; his memories from the 1968 Paralympics in Tel Aviv, Isael; competing in the 1976 Paralympics in Toronto; competing in the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth and winning gold in fencing; winning a silver medal in the basketball at 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games; Libby Kosmala; coaching wheelchair sport since (1981); Louise Suavage; Pria Cooper; receiving many awards for contributions to wheelchair sport in Australia; Linda Holt; the Black Rock Stakes; the first Junior Wheelchair Games held in Perth (1983); the technological changes to sporting wheelchairs; the organisational improvements to wheelchair basketball in Australia; his children; wanting to be remembered as someone who has developed opportunities for people to play wheelchair sport.


Frank Ponta is a pioneer of sport for people with disabilities in Australia and has been one of the country's most talented and versatile athletes, competing successfully across many disciplines. He is recognised as being one of the greatest wheelchair basketball players of all time. He has taken part in five Paralympics and for the past twenty years has been a driving force behind junior wheelchair sports programs in Western Australia.


The Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project is a joint project being conducted by the National Library of Australia and the Australian Paralympic Committee.

Recorded on 4 June 2010 in Perth, W.A.

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary (3 p.). Uncorrected transcript (typescript, 75 leaves). 
Subjects Ponta, Frank, 1935-2011 -- Interviews.  |  Paralympic Games.  |  Athletes -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Athletes with disabilities -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Sports for people with disabilities -- Australia.  |  Wheelchair basketball.
Other authors/contributors Poke, Robin, Interviewer  |  National Library of Australia  |  Australian Paralympic Committee

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Details Collect From
ORAL TRC 6112/3
Copy: Recording
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 6112/3 (Transcript)
Copy: Transcript
Unavailable until 31 January 2022 due to Building Works
ORAL TRC 6112/3 (summary)
Copy: Summary
Special Collections Reading Room

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