IRISH ATHLETES DID us proud at the World Transplant Games this week, winning a total of 34 medals – 12 of them gold.
The 24 athletes arrived home today from the 19th World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa, with an impressive haul of 34 medals as well as treasured lifetime memories.
In total, they scooped 12 Gold, 10 Silver and 12 Bronze medals.
The team were greeted by delighted family, friends and supporters at the arrivals hall at Dublin Airport’s terminal two. Among them was Transplant Surgeon David Hickey from Beaumont Hospital, who had operated on some of the Irish transplant athletes.
The Irish team, ranging in age from 12 to 68, were placed 14th overall on the medals table at the games. They were amongst almost 1000 organ transplant recipients from 50 countries at the games.
The team members reported that the atmosphere was “electric” at the games, while the competition was “extremely tough” and the standards very high.
Team Ireland Manager, Colin White said:
Our hosts put on a spectacular week that brought together inspiring people from all over the world to celebrate the gift of life through sport and demonstrate that organ donation and transplantation works.
John Moran (54) from Glasnevin, Dublin, Tony Gartland (50) from Carlow and teenager Andrew Duncan (15) from Tipperary, a newcomer to the team, secured the most medals, winning four each.
The youngest member of the team, Oisin O’Gorman (12) from Waterford, secured a Gold in Badminton and two Bronze medals in the Long Jump and Ball Throw events (12-14 years).
Tony Gartland, the first person to undergo a liver transplant in Ireland, secured 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals and paid tribute to his deceased organ donor for his success.
Tipperary woman Sheila Gregan, who took the Gold medal in the virtual triathlon event and a Bronze medal in the 400m freestyle event, said “at the end of the day the reason I am here is down to my donor and the decision the donor family took to donate their loved ones organs. I find it difficult to articulate my gratitude in words so I honour my donor by using my body to the best of its abilities, through sport.”
Robbie Lyons (19) from Laois won a Bronze in the Long Jump event. Robbie, who broke a world record in the under 18’s Long Jump event at the previous World Transplant Games in Sweden two years ago, said “participating in the Games reminds me that being here is all down to my donor and their family’s decision to donate their family members’ organs.”
Team Captain Harry Ward from Baldoyle said:
It’s wonderful to be here with such a wonderful team and it’s fantastic to see them all competing to the best of their abilities.
For more information on the 19th World Transplant Games and Transplant Team Ireland, visit the team blog.