Irish eyes were smiling again today in Durban on Irish teenager Andrew Duncan and other members of Transplant Team Ireland at the 19TH World Transplant Games. Today 15 year old Andrew from Clonmel won his second Gold medal at the World Transplant Games in the Tennis singles event and fellow Tipperary woman Sheila Gregan picked up a Bronze medal in the 400m Swimming freestyle event (40-49 years category).
Proving to be a winning pairing, Sligo woman Bridie Nicholson and Cork woman Catherine Murphy picked up a Bronze medal in Lawn Bowls Pairs event today and on Tuesday they secured Gold in the Petanque Pairs event. Catherine also won a Silver medal in the Lawn bowls singles event yesterday in age category 60-69 years.
An accomplished mainstream racket ball player, Andrew Duncan picked up his first Gold medal on Tuesday in the Squash event and just yesterday secured Silver in Badminton coming in second after his Great Britain opponent (in the 15-17 year age category). Playing against stiff competition once again today, he shares a common experience with his South African opponent; each of them received a living donor kidney transplant from their father. The youngest member of Transplant Team Ireland, Oisin O’Gorman (12), from Waterford, also received a kidney transplant from his donor father Kieran. Oisin won a Gold medal in Badminton yesterday putting in an impressive performance to secure his victory over his opponent from Hong Kong.
After a shocking discovery in 2010 that Andrew Duncan had kidney failure he later underwent dialysis treatment and in March 2012 Andrew’s father, Malcolm, donated a kidney to him. Andrew, who sat his Junior Cert exams earlier this Summer, said today, “the Games are fantastic. I am on a high after playing today. Competition is stiff. It’s great to come out with some medals this week. The support from the team, my family and friends is wonderful. Everyone here is so friendly. The hospitality of the home team is fabulous.”
Andrew is hoping for further success this Friday when he competes in Table Tennis. Both Andrew and Oisin are cared for by Children’s University Hospital Temple Street. Temple Street Hospital has been a long time supporter of transplant sport for paediatric patients who have experienced kidney failure. Two other members of Transplant Team Ireland, Robbie Lyons and Eoin Hurley (both 19), took part at junior level in transplant sport and have now moved on to adult competition. Eoin, a student at Trinity College from Waterford, will be competing in Golf and Table Tennis at the Games. Robbie, from Laois, sat his Leaving Cert earlier this summer and was a record breaker at a previous World Transplant Games in Sweden two years ago. At this World Games, Robbie will be taking part in the adult category for the first time (age 18-29 years) in track and field events which will take place this Friday and Saturday.
Competing in the Badminton Mixed Doubles today was Vienna White from Letterkenny, Co Donegal and Team Captain, Harry Ward from Baldoyle, Co Dublin. Enjoying their Games experience they just missed a place in the semi-finals by two points losing out in a very close match to their opponents from Thailand.
Nenagh woman Sheila Gregan, picked up a Bronze medal in the 400m Swimming freestyle event in the 40-49 years age category with a time of 9 minutes and 6 seconds. She will participate in the 50 m Breaststroke event later today. The kidney transplant recipient and triathlete was placed fourth in a 20k cycling race on Wednesday with a time of 46 minutes and 19 seconds and she also ran in the 5km road race finishing in 31 minutes 14 seconds. Swimming events, golf and badminton doubles will continue throughout today. Yesterday evening Skerries man Peter Heffernan secured a Silver medal in the 50m backstroke event in his age category (50-59 years) Both Sheila and Peter along together with five other transplant athletes took part in a Swim across from Dublin Bay, from Sutton to Dunlaoghaire, two weeks ago. Peter said, “It’s my first time at the World Games. I’m delighted with my medals as the competition was very tough. The Games makes me reflect on my donor and my gratitude to them for the gift of life. Before dialysis myself and my family had planned a trip to South Africa and now it’s wonderful that it’s actually happening.
So far the 24-strong Irish team has amassed a total of 17 medals, including seven Gold, 7 silver and 4 Bronze, and are hopeful for more medals by the time the Games come to a close on Sunday, 4th August. Members of the team include 10 women and range in age from 12 to 68. As well as including the first person to receive a liver transplant in Ireland which took place twenty years ago, the team also includes one heart transplant man and pancreas and kidney transplant recipients, some of whom have received kidneys transplants from living donors.
Over 1000 athletes from 50 countries are participating in the 19th World Transplant Games which are a celebration of life and the strength and generosity of human spirit. The Games include a broad range of events including Track & Field, road races, cycling, swimming, golf, tennis, table-tennis, badminton, squash, lawn bowls, petanque and Tenpin Bowling.
At the previous World Transplant Games which were held in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2011, the Irish team of 33 athletes who ranged in age from 9 to 70+, secured a world record in one event and picked up a massive haul of 39 medals comprising 13 Gold, 14 Silver and 12 Bronze and were placed 11th overall on the medals table.
The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for managing Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at the Games. Individual athletes have undertaken fundraising activities to offset some of the expenses incurred in travelling to and participating in the Games.
National Team Manager, and World Transplant Games Federation Councillor, Colin White, said that “the athletes’ participation in the Games offers a great opportunity to showcase the success of organ donation and transplantation. Their achievements offer inspiration to others experiencing organ failure and an impetus to the general public to embrace organ donation”.
Messages of support are proudly posted on the team blog www.transplantteamireland.ie Members of the public can also offer messages of support in its Guestbook.
Speaking about winning a Gold medal today in Badminton, young Oisin O'Gorman said " it's a brilliant feeling to win a gold medal here in South Africa. It's a great Games with really friendly people. Kieran O'Gorman, Oisin's father and live kidney donor, said "we as a family are very proud of Oisin's win. His participation at the Games helps to prove that organ donation works". After his challenging Badminton match, Andrew Duncan said, "huge thanks to William Stevenson, my coach at home, and to the whole team for the great support and encouragement they have given to me. It's great to have a Silver and Gold medal for Ireland". (Andrew has since won another Gold in the Tennis singles event.)
For more information on the 19th World Transplant Games and Transplant Team Ireland, visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.ie (Twitter www.twitter.com/teamireland1
Facebook www.facebook.com/transplantteamireland and follow trends on #wtg2013) and the World Transplant Games official event website www.wtg2013.com
For organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or contact the Irish Kidney Association on locall 1890 543639 or log on to www.ika.ie . You can now store your donor card details on your smart phone by downloading the free Organ Donor Ecard app.
The Transplant Team Ireland panel for the 19th World Transplant Games:
Seamus Eager (heart), Kilcoole, Co Wicklow
Tony Gartland (liver), Hacketstown, Co Carlow
Vienna White (kidney), Letterkenny, Co Donegal
John Connell (kidney), (living in Capetown, South Africa) from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Sheila Gregan (kidney), Nenagh, Co Tipperary
Orla Hogan (kidney), Nenagh, Co Tipperary
Andrew Duncan (kidney), Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Robbie Lyons (kidney), The Swan, via Athy, Co Laois
Sinead McGowan (kidney), (living in China) from Renmore, Galway
Bridie Nicholson (kidney and pancreas), Sligo Town, Sligo
James Nolan (kidney), The Curragh, Co Kildare
Sonia Treacy (kidney), Newbridge, Co Kildare
Catherine Murphy (liver), Aghabullogue, Cork
Charlie Ryan (liver), Cobh, Cork (most senior team member)
Oisin O’Gorman (kidney), Lismore, Waterford (youngest member of team)
Eoin Hurley (kidney), Waterford city, Co Waterford
Deirdre Faul (liver), Dalkey, Co Dublin
James Reynolds (kidney), Tallaght, Dublin 24
Angela Sherlock (kidney), (living in Spain) from Walkinstown, Dublin 12
Dara McLaughlin (kidney), Lucan, Co Dublin
Brian Carney (kidney), Killester, Dublin 5
John Moran (kidney), Glasnevin, Dublin 11
Peter Heffernan (kidney), Skerries, Co. Dublin
Harry Ward (kidney), Baldoyle, Co Dublin (Team Captain)
Sinead O’Regan, Rosscarbery, Co Cork (Team Physio)
Yvonne Ryan, Ballinagarde, Ballyneety, Co Limerick (Team Doctor)
Colin White, Irish Kidney Association, from Balbriggan, Dublin (Team Manager)
Flight information: The team will return to Dublin airport (Terminal Two) on Monday, 5th August (flight from Dubai, Emirates Airlines EK 161Y) at 12.15
For further information contact: Gwen O’Donoghue, Publicity Co-ordinator, Transplant Team Ireland Mob. 086 8241447
Colin White, National Projects Manager (IKA) and Ireland Team Manager, also World Transplant Games Federation Councillor Tel. 01 6205306 Mob. 087 6843644
Harry Ward, Team Captain, Mob. 085 2137512
The 19th World Transplant Games commenced in Durban, South Africa today with members of Team Ireland competing in the 5km Road Race and the Petanque Singles event. Team Ireland got off to a fantastic start securing two medals.
The atmosphere today was electric. The comradeship and enthusiasm, not only amongst members of Team Ireland, but also between Team Ireland and Teams from all around the world was a sight to behold, as many old friends were reacquainted. Tonight Team Ireland shall attend the Opening Ceremony of the Games. Over 1000 athletes from 50 countries will participate in this, the 19th World Transplant Games. Team Ireland is enthusiastic for the week ahead, which will undoubtedly see many victories, the making of new friendships and the reconnecting of old friends.
For Organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or contact the Irish Kidney Association on locall 1890 543639 or log on to http://www.ika.ie. You can now store your donor card details on your smart phone by downloading the free Organ Donor Ecard app.
Picture shows President of Badminton Ireland Breda Connolly wishing the athletes 'Good Luck' before they departed.