22nd August 2014
By Sarah May
The final day of the 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Championships saw Transplant Team Ireland athletes competing in the 5000m Power Walk, the 200m and 800m sprints, the long jump, ball throw and the relay race. Transplant Team Ireland performed exceptionally well yet again and were spurred on by the fantastic support of their fellow team members and families.
Mike Keohane of Cork put on an amazing performance at the 5000m Power Walk this morning taking the Bronze with a speedy time of 30mins and 2 seconds.
Mike was thrilled to beat his own personal best, “It was a tough race with very stiff competition and intense heat however I have beaten my personal best with a time of 30 minutes and 2 seconds. I have worked very hard for this event and now all the training has paid off.”
Dublin Consultant Ronald Grainger was also successful in breaking his own personal best and secured the bronze in the 60-69 age category in 5000m power walk. Ron said, “When I was standing on the start line I thought of how thankful I am that I am well enough to be here. I gave it my all and beat my personal best by three and a half minutes so I am absolutely thrilled. This whole week has been fantastic; to be part of this group is wonderful. The sense of family and togetherness, for me has been overwhelming.”
Richard Costello of Limerick also competed very well in the 5000m power walk coming fourth and narrowly missing out on a medal.
In the Long Jump Ireland had two female competitors, Bridie Nicholson of Sligo and Marie O’Connor from Clare. Both ladies gave it their all and as a result Bridie bagged a Bronze and Marie bagged Gold. Marie was ecstatic with the result, “I am pleasantly surprised to have taken the gold in the long jump. I am so delighted to be here it is lovely to see people that I have not seen since the Games in Ireland four years ago. I am so grateful to my donor most especially, and of course to everyone who has sponsored me to be here.”
Kieran Murray of Donegal continued his winning streak taking the Bronze in the 800m Sprint. Kieran thoroughly enjoyed the race, “it was unreal. I am so thankful to my donor, the medals I have won this week are his rather than mine, I feel as if he/she is with me here today.” The Donegal man is also extremely grateful to his local athletic club-Milford AC and to the team for their tremendous welcome and constant support.
Kilcullen native James Nolan and Eoghan O’Neill of Newmarket on Fergus competed in the 200m sprint. Both athletes performed outstandingly well. Eoghan, a kidney transplant recipient took the Silver medal with a fantastic finish time of 30.03 seconds, narrowly missing out on gold which went to a Swedish competitor. Following the race Eoghan paid tribute to his donor, “I am delighted o be here and ever so grateful to my donor for giving me the chance to do this.” Long-standing member to the team James Nolan also ran extremely well with a fantastic finish time of 31.51 seconds.
A Team Ireland Relay team of James Nolan, Eoghan O’Neill, Kieran Murray and Robbie Lyons took part in the 4x100m race. The race was nail biting and Ireland had very stiff competition. The team did their team and country proud with an impressive finish time of 55.6 seconds.
Sheila Gregan of Tipperary was awarded the Gold for the Virtual Triathlon today. The virtual triathlon combined Sheila’s times in the 5km Cycle,the 5km mini-marathon, and the 400m Freestyle. Sheila said, “It was worth waiting till the end of the week for this. Only for my donor I couldn’t do this, so I do it because I can.”
Transplant Team Ireland is looking forward to attending the Gala dinner tonight in the Salt Mines of Krakow. The Team shall arrive in Dublin airport tomorrow, the 23rd of August at 4.15pm.
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 has involved over 500 athletes from 24 European countries.
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