Ten Dubliners will represent Ireland at the World Transplant Games in Malaga this summer with the event getting underway on Sunday, June 25.
Baldoyle’s Harry Ward has been named as team captain. He is included along with Castleknock’s Ron Grainger, Santry’s Paul Prendergast, Artane’s Anthony Byrne, Greenhill’s Angela Sherlock, Skerries’ Paul Heffernan, Clonsilla’s Aoife Murray, Cabinteely’s Michael Dwyer, Tallaght’s Leonard Ryan and Dalkey’s Deirdre Faul.
They will join others from over 50 countries in what will be the biggest gathering of transplant recipients this year. Almost 1,000 competitors registered to take on events as diverse as athletics, badminton, swimming, ten pin bowling and darts to name but a few.
Ranging in age from 30 to 79, Transplant Team Ireland includes five Liver transplant recipients and 23 who have undergone kidney transplants.
Colin White, the National Projects Manager of the Irish Kidney Association is the Ireland Team Manager and he is also currently the treasurer of the World Transplant Games Federation.
He said of the event: “This year the World Transplant Games Federation is celebrating 30 years and we can be proud of the tradition that our team has in the competition.
“Our team is known for its sense of fair play as well as its sense of fun with both underpinned by a steely competitive edge. Our athletes are coming from across the country and their dedication and commitment is not only to their training, in practical terms, they also fund the vast majority of the costs involved.
“Their motivation is driven by a determination to be Fit for Life, to show other ‘patients’ what can be achieved post-transplant and to encourage the general public to have a family discussion about organ donation”.
“It will be my 7th World Transplant Games as Ireland Team Manager and it continues to be a most humbling honour to be a part of such an inspiring group of people.
Every athlete at the World Transplant Games will have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.
Although the main objective for team members is to embrace life and promote organ donation, some returning team members will also be contesting for world titles.
Keen to build on their medal successes at the previous World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015, Faul and Peter Heffernan have being training hard in anticipation of the competition in Malaga.
Team captain Ward has represented Ireland at numerous international Games events both as a dialysis patient and in more recent years as a transplant recipient thanks to his kidney transplant which he received in 2007.
Athletes will compete in their respective age categories in the following events: badminton, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, squash, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, mini-marathon, and track and field.