Commonwealth Games Scotland is saddened to learn of the passing of double Paralympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Robertson on 21 December 2016 at the age of 75.
Active in several sports, after a cycling accident at the age of 16 left him with spinal paralysis, John competed for Scotland at the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Perth, Australia in 1962, Kingston, Jamaica in 1966, Edinburgh in 1970 and Dunedin, New Zealand in 1974.
His two Paralympic Games appearances stand as testament to the remarkable longevity of John’s sporting career at the top level. Making his debut at Tokyo in 1964, his second Paralympic Games came an incredible 32 years later at Atlanta in 1996, where he finished 5th in the lawn bowls Singles event. A bronze medal in Pairs followed at the 1998 IPC World Championships, but John’s finest hour came at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 where, in monsoon-like rain, he joined forces with Ivan Prior and David Heddle to win gold for Team Scotland in the Triples.
With a vision for inclusion ahead of his time, John was a pioneering voice in early efforts towards equality and access to sporting provision. John and his wife Val, a six-time Paralympic gold medallist, worked to develop a strong bowls community in and around Edinburgh and to widen access to participants with severe mobility challenges.
John will be remembered as an outstanding all-round sportsman who helped to lay the foundations for disability sport as we know it today.