PRESS RELEASE 23rd August 2012
IRELAND CONTINUES SUCCESS AT EUROPEAN GAMES WITH MORE MEDALS SECURED IN TRACK AND FIELD EVENTS
With just one day to go and under the searing Croatian heat at the 7th European Transplant & Dialysis Games, the Irish Team has scooped 3 Gold, 5 Silver and and 5 Bronze in track and field events. Since the Games began on Sunday, the Irish Team of 26 athletes has put in a fantastic performance proudly representing their country and celebrating life through sport.
Today, the youngest member of the Team, 18 years old Robbie Lyons from The Swan, Co Laois secured three medals at track and field events. He won a Silver medal in the Long Jump event competing against stiff competition in his new age category coming in just behind a British athlete’s distance. Robbie broke a world record last year at the World Transplant Games in Sweden in his then age category (15 to 17 years). Now a year older he has progressed to the 18-29 year old age category and was the youngest athlete in all three competitions he took part in. Despite this he also managed to secure a Silver medal in the 100m race as well as a Bronze in the 400m race. Robbie received his kidney transplant in 2009 and was selected as an Olympics torchbearer for London 2012. Speaking from Zagreb, Robbie said, “I’m absolutely delighted and chuffed with my victories. I’m exhausted now but looking forwad to the next competition tomorrow”
19 years old Megan Fahy from Sligo also did her country and her kidney donor proud today and won two medals. The kidney transplant recipient from Tonaphubble was placed second in the Ball Throw event securing Silver and she also won a Bronze medal in the 100m race in age category 18-29 years. After her events Megan said,
“I was so thrilled to get bronze in the 100m today. I had some strong competition and it was very tough especially with the heat. I plan to relax for the evening and rest for tomorrow events.”
Also from Sligo, kidney and pancreas transplant recipient, Bridie Nicholson secured aSilver medal today in the Petanque doubles event along with liver transplant recipientCatherine Murphy from Aghabullogue, Cork. Catherine also won a bronze medal for Petanque today in her age category 60-69 years.
Speaking after their win Bridie Nicholson, a regular at previous Transplant Games events said, “since I got involved with the Games, it’s become extremely competitive. The heat is melting here and making it very difficult. I’ve made so many friends here over the years ad it’s nice to catch up with them here. Team Ireland is like one big family. The Team spirit and camaraderie is fantastic. Its a privilege to compete for my country. Winning Gold in Petanque at the World Transplant Games in Bangkok has definitely been my best achievement so far.
Tallaght man James Reynolds also took his first medal at today’s events – a bronze inPetanque singles. The 25 year old kidney transplant recipient said, “I’ve managed to win over two opponents who have beaten me at previous Transplant Games. So I’m delighted with that. I won Bronze at the last European Games in Dublin in 2010 and I wanted to defend my title. I also really wanted to win a medal again this year to bring home to Tallaght.”
Roscommon woman Monica Finn won her second medal at the Games today – a Goldfor coming first in her age category (50-59 years) in Petanque singles. Earlier this week the kidney transplant recipient from Roscommon Town secured a Silver medal in the 6K Cycling Trials. Monica said after the Petanque event today, ” it was a very tough match. The heat was terrible. I am absolutely delighted that I won. It was one of the toughest matches I have ever played”.
Monica also competed in a doubles Petanque doubles event today with Athenry womanLinda Waters missing out on a medal coming in fourth place. Linda, a kidney and pancreas transplant recipient, also won a Bronze medal in Petanque in her age category. Linda said, “I really enjoyed it. It was extremely hot. The ladies I played against were lovely. The second game in the play offs was very close. I am enjoying my Games experience. All our teammates are fantastic and the atmosphere is great.”
Corkman, Mike Keohane put in a spectacular performance in the 5k race walk event today and with a time of 33 minutes secured his first Gold medal at the Games.
Earlier this week Mike, a liver transplant recipient from Roscarbery, won 2 bronze in his age category 30-39 years in Darts and Badminton events.
Kilcullen man James Nolan came second in the 400m race and secured Silver, his second medal at the Games. Earlier this week, the multi award winning butcher won Gold for coming first in the Golf net event. James is celebrating the 25th Anniversary since he received his living kidney transplant from his donor sister.
World champion in his age category (60-69 years) in the 100m race, John ‘The Bullet’Loftus didn’t fail to disappoint and secured a Gold medal today for the same distance. The Clarina man is a kidney transplant recipient. John is currently British, European and World Champion over 100m and 200m in his age category. John hopes to retain his 200m title when he competes in tomorrow’s final track and field events.
Dublin men, Harry Ward and Owen Kelleher also competed in a doubles Petanque event today and secured Bronze. Harry is the Team Captain and a kidney transplant recipient from Baldoyle. Owen has been receiving dialysis treatment for over 11 years and lives in Lucan.
Members of the Irish team are hoping for further success when they compete in some further track and field events tomorrow on the final day of events. They will return home to Dublin airport on Saturday night.
The Irish Team consists of 26 members including 17 men and 9 women who range in age from 18 to 74. The Games involve over 300 athletes from 28 countries throughout Europe. The European Games celebrate life through sport and promote organ donation. The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for organising Transplant Team Ireland’s participation in the Transplant & Dialysis Games.
For more information and regular updates on the Irish Team visit the team blogwww.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com
For organ donor cards Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie. It is now possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones by searching for ‘Organ Donor ECard’ at the iphone store or android marketplace.