19th of August 2014
By Sarah May
Today marked the third day of competition at the 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Championships held in Krakow, Poland. Team Ireland are faring exceptionally well at this year’s Games with a total of 3 Gold, 3 silver and 13 bronze medals.
Today members of Team Ireland competed in the following events; Table Tennis, the Summer Biathlon and the 20km cycling road race. Despite thunder showers each member that competed performed very well and those not competing took the opportunity to explore some of the city.
Team Ireland is comprised of 34 athletes including 25 men and 9 women ranging in age from 16 to 76 years and includes 29 transplant recipients (5 liver, 22 kidney, 1 combined Kidney and Pancreas, and 1 bone marrow transplant), as well as five people who are receiving dialysis treatment.
The day kicked off with Team Ireland’s youngest Team member Andrew Duncan from Tipperary competing in the Table Tennis singles event. Sixteen year old Andrew performed very well despite extremely stiff competition in the 18 to 29 year age category from the French, Hungarian and Czech teams.
Kildare man James Nolan, a veteran to the Transplant Games, secured a bronze in the summer biathlon which combines shooting and running. This is the first year that the summer biathlon is part of the Games. James is a multi-award winning butcher from Kilcullen who has raised in excess of €1.3 million for kidney research. James thoroughly enjoyed the competition, “there was a great atmosphere and it was wonderfully organised.” James was thrilled to be able to call his wife and sister following his success, he said, “it was lovely to call my wife and my sister to tell them the good news. If it was not for my sister being my donor I would not be here today.” James is also very grateful to those that have helped him in his training for this event, “I am very thankful to Tommy O’Brien of Harbour House Gun Club in Athy and to Kevin Walker for my running training.” James is joined in Krakow by his wife Emma and son Andrew James and he is looking forward to the rest of the week.
Team Ireland Cyclists flew the flag high today as Nenagh woman Sheila Gregan and Mullingar man John Connell competed in the 20km cycling road race.
John is a kidney transplant recipient who currently lives in South Africa but is originally from Westmeath. John is an avid cyclist, in fact he moved to South Africa in 2005 to enjoy the vibrant cycling scene in Cape town. Following the race John said, “It was very wet just like being in Mullingar, but it was great to do it.” When speaking of his fellow team Ireland member Sheila’s performance he said, “Sheila played a blinder out there.” John’s donor sister Frances joins John in Krakow along with seven other members of his family.
Nenagh woman Sheila Gregan also had tremendous success at the 20km cycling event today. Sheila was delighted with her own performance and narrowly missed out on a medal due to combined age categories. Sheila is also very athletic and loves to partake in triathlons. Sheila has competed in the Nenagh and Athlone Triathlons and the Debra Ireland Kerry 3 day challenge.
Tomorrow Team Ireland athletes will be competing in the Bowling, Tennis and Golf Events. Team Ireland are thoroughly enjoying their week in Krakow, meeting old and new friends and seeing the sites of Krakow such as Auschwitz and Wawel Cathedral.
The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for the coordination and organisation of Transplant Team Ireland’s participation in the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships.
For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie It is also possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones by searching for ‘Donor ECard’ at the iphone store or android market place. Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115.