By Sarah May
Today marked Day five of the 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Games. Ireland continued their winning streak at the Track & Field Events this morning . Despite heavy rainfall the Irish Team secured 11 medals in total; 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 5 bronze medals.
Limerick man John “Bullet” Loftus took Gold in the 100m Sprint for the 4th time in a row at a European Transplant & Dialysis Games. John completed the race in the short time of 15.83 seconds. Following his success he expressed his happiness, “I am delighted. The training was going brilliantly until Saturday morning when I damaged my calf but due to the efforts of a lot of people out here I got out on the track and won my fourth Gold in a row in the 100m sprint. The weather conditions were the worst I have ever competed in which makes it all the more of an achievement. A big thanks to my donor with whom I share this medal.”
Ireland had further success in the 100m sprint with Laois man Robbie Lyons taking the Bronze medal in the 18-29 age category. Robbie ran exceptionally well with a time of 12.53 seconds. Robbie was victorious in every event he took part in today taking the Silver in the Long Jump, reaching a distance of 5.5 metres, and a Silver in the 400m sprint. Following his 400m race Robbie said, “I am really happy with the outcome of my races. The racing conditions were tough since the ground was wet and slippy, which makes me even more proud of my time.”
Kicullen man and Games Veteran James Nolan took the Bronze in the 400m sprint despite stiff competition. This is the third medal James has won so far this week, as he secured the Bronze in the summer Biathlon and Silver in the Golfing. James is looking forward to competing in the 800m sprint and the 200m sprint at the track tomorrow.
Kieran Murray of Donegal proved that he is a man of many talents getting the Gold in the 1500 metre sprint. This was Kieran’s third Gold this week having won the Gold in the Golfing yesterday and a Gold in the 5km mini-marathon on Sunday. Kieran was delighted with his win, “It was my first time competing in a 1500m race and it was made all the more difficult by strong opponents and heavy rain. I am delighted with the result. I have 3 Golds so far, it’s fantastic.”
Four athletes showed great strength in the shot putt, ball throw and discus events. Zimele Brown, New Orleans native took the Bronze in the ball throw with an impressive throwing distance of 53 metres. Mike Keohane of Clonakilty, Cork took the Bronze in the Discus event. While former Ireland rugby player Richard Costello from Limerick bagged a Silver in the shot putt event. Richard was very happy with the outcome, “I am delighted it was tough in the rain but I am very satisfied with my throwing distance.” Linda Waters of Athenry also took part in the shot putt event taking the Bronze medal.
Team Ireland also had athletes competing in the 3000m Power Walk. Orla Hogan, Bridie Nicholson and Madeline Donaghy performed very well on the track. Madeline said, “I am delighted to have finished the track. Although it wasn’t a personal best time-wise, it was my first time on the track competing at a European event so I am very happy. I’m really enjoying my experience here it’s great to meet people who have so much in common with each other.”
Team Ireland supporters were out in force with Irish flags dominating the track and field stadium. The atmosphere was electric as the supporters from each country cheered on not only their own team members, but every single athlete as they crossed the finish line.
The Darts competition is still ongoing, Team Ireland has already secured several victories with a Bronze for Zimele Brown, a Silver for Thomas Doherty, a Bronze for James Reynolds and a Silver for Mike Keohane. The full Darts results will follow shortly.
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 European Championships involve over 500 athletes from 24 European countries. Throughout the Championships which run from 16th – 23rd August, athletes will compete in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, volleyball, mini-marathon, track and field and for the first time this year a biathlon event.
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.