On the final day of competition today at the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Cagliari, Transplant Team Ireland ended the week long competitions on a high winning 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze in Track and Field events. Kidney transplant recipient athletes Emma O’Sullivan, James Nolan, Ronald Grainger, Kieran Murray and Pat O’Sullivan and liver transplant recipient Mike Keohanecompeted at the track and field at a number of events including shot putt, ball throw, discuss, 800m sprint, 200m sprint and the 4 x 100m relay.
Kieran Murray, Donegal, won his Bronze medal in the 800m sprint this morning, this was the fourth medal the kidney transplant recipient has won this week. In addition to his success today earlier in the week Kieran won the Gold in the Golf event, Silver in the 1500m sprint yesterday and Bronze in the 5km mini marathon. Following the 800m sprint Kieran said, “I am delighted with my medal and indeed the medal haul I achieved throughout the week, it has without a doubt exceeded my expectations. Being here is a huge honour in itself so to bring home any medal is a success for me. A big thank you to Milford AC for supporting me and putting me through my paces in the lead up to the Games and to my family and friends for all of their support back home. Indeed, I would also like to thank my donor who is always in my thoughts.”
Kieran also took part in the men’s 4x100m relay today along with fellow Team Ireland athletes James Nolan (Kildare), Pat O’Sullivan (Cork) and Ronald Grainger (Castleknock, Dublin). While the team did not secure a medal, they put in an excellent performance on the track and showed brilliant team spirit, finishing their week on a high.
Following the relay race James Nolan said, “The relay for me is one of the best events of the week. We all compete in our own individual event so being able to go out there and compete as a team is just wonderful. It’s so great to be able to do this.” James also competed in the 200m sprint at the Riccardo Santoru Athletics stadium this morning and the 400m sprint yesterday. He put in speedy times in all races he competed in and said, “I went out and enjoyed my races, I enjoyed every minute. It’s so inspirational to be here amongst these amazing people that show such resilience and determination against adversity.”
Earlier in the day the “flying doctor”, retired urologist Ron Grainger took the Gold at the 200m sprint, competing in the 60-69 age category. This was the third Gold medal Ron has won at this year’s Championship, having secured the Gold in 100m sprint yesterday and a Gross Gold at the golf event on Thursday. Ron said, “I feel blessed to have been able to compete at this level. I’m so happy with this achievement. Following my success this week I think of my donor and how this would not have been possible without them.”
Mike Keohane (Roscarberry, Cork) and Emma O’Sullivan (native of Kilkenny but living in Glin, Limerick) secured a Silver and Bronze in their events respectively. Mike competed in the Javelin and Discus events this morning and was successful in securing a silver medal in the Discus. Mike has had a very impressive week having also won 2 bronze medals yesterday in the Shot Putt and the 5km Power Walk.
Emma O’Sullivan won the Bronze in the 200m sprint event. Emma said “it was a very tough competition so I’m very happy with the bronze medal. I’ve had a great week, the weather is fabulous, the hotel is lovely and of course the sportsmanship amongst the Irish team and all competitors has been very enjoyable. A huge thank you to my family for coming out here to cheer me on, my husband John, Ewan my son, and my parents-in-law, and also to my family at home for their support.”
The Irish team of 23 athletes are all looking forward to attending the Gala Dinner tonight in Hotel Setar in Cagliari where they will celebrate a week of success, fun and friendship.
The Irish team of 10 women and 13 men ranging in age from 31 to 80 and includes 20 athletes who underwent kidney, pancreas or liver transplants as well 3 dialysis patients. The team are competing amongst competitors from 25 nations which for the first time in the Championships history includes Russia and Kazakhstan. The European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships are a celebration of life and showcase the value of sport and regular physical activity for people on dialysis and transplant recipients.
The European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships are open to all kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, bone marrow transplant recipients as well as dialysis patients. The multi-sport event includes athletics, badminton, cycling, darts, golf, mini marathon, petanque, swimming, table tennis, tennis, ten pin bowling, virtual triathlon and the hosts have also added archery and surf-casting. Athletes are divided into six age groups (18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+). Swimming and track and field bring the sporting specialties total to 39.
A homecoming reception for Transplant Team Ireland will take place at Dublin airport’s arrivals hall (Terminal 1) when the team arrives home on a Eurowings flight from Dusseldorf on Sunday 24th June around 3.15pm.
The Irish Kidney Association is looking forward to bringing the biennial European Games back to Ireland in 2020 after it successfully hosted the 6th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin in 2010 which attracted over 500 participants and supporters from 23 countries.
The Irish Kidney Association is the charity organisation which manages Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at British, European and World Transplant Games events.
For more information on the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or visit the Games website http://www.cagliarietdsc2018.it