By Sarah May
Team Captain Harry Ward is undoubtedly an invaluable member of Team Ireland. Harry keeps everyone’s feet on the ground and ensures that everyone around him is constantly laughing. He is well known for getting everyone to remember the fun element to the Games, and is an expert at rising the spirits of not only the Irish Team but of everyone he encounters along the way.
Harry is a kidney transplant recipient from Baldoyle, Dublin. He attended his first Games in Hungary in 2006 while he was still receiving Dialysis treatment. Eight years on he is competing in the Games as a transplant recipient and is a Games veteran. Harry’s loving and supportive wife Mary accompanied him in Hungary on his first Games experience and is now here in Krakow by his side once again. Mary believes the Games are a great medium for friendship, “The team spirit amongst Team Ireland and their supporters is fantastic. It’s also great to see the friendly faces from all the other countries competing.” Mary is proud of her husbands progression and his involvement in the Games, “it’s great to see how Harry’s progressed since 2006.”
Harry is a fundamental part of Team Ireland and the Team realises how lucky they are to have Harry as their captain. Team Manager Colin White stated, “Harry is the Ace that every other team wishes they had.” James Reynolds speaks of Harry as a hero and is grateful to Harry for encouraging him to join Team Ireland. James says “ he is one of the best people I have ever met. If it wasn’t for him I would not be involved in the Games. It’s impossible not to love Harry.”
Harry is always asserting fair play at the Games and is quick to jump to the defence of anyone who is not being treated fairly in a competition. The Petanque event today was a shining example of this, as Harry as a seasoned Petanque player jumped in to help out in the adjudication of matches any time he wasn’t playing a match himself. Harry has a rare ability to assert authority while keeping the mood light, a trait that gains him admiration from those around him.
Team Ireland member Mike Keohane and his wife Dee sum up Harry in a way that echoes the ideal captain, “the go to guy, looking out for everyone and beloved by not only Team Ireland but by every other Team also.”
As the week progresses in Krakow, it is certain that Harry will continue to motivate Team Ireland and ensure spirits are soaring.