Transplant Team Ireland continues to win medals on day four of European Games in Vantaa

It’s day four at the 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Vantaa. The 28 strong Transplant Team Ireland athletes show no signs of faltering, winning more medals once again. Three bronze medals were won today with the real possibility of more silverware from the team’s golfers who are still in play at Golf Talma in Sipoo, located a half an hour away from Vantaa.

This morning began with victories in the singles bowling event. Enjoying great success at these games, Chikoyo White, from Balbriggan bagged the Bronze in her bowling event. Chikoyo, a dialysis patient and wife of Team Manager Colin White had already secured two Bronze in Petanque, singles and doubles competitions earlier in the week. Chikoyo will compete in the Bowling Doubles event tomorrow morning with newcomer to the team and Tralee native Stephen Byrne.

Chikoyo was thrilled with her success, ” I am feeling so much excitement. I am really enjoying the Games and I’m really looking forward to competing with Stephen in the bowling doubles tomorrow!” Chikoyo manages her own Dialysis at home every second day and has arranged been dialysis sessions in Vantaa on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Chikoyo’s doubles partner Stephen Byrne from Tralee also competed in the Bowling Singles competition today. This is the Kerry native’s first time to attend the Games and he has really enjoyed the week so far. Stephen said, ” I have received great support from Team Ireland. I am really enjoying the week and don’t want it to end.” Stephen performed very well and narrowly missed out on a medal, “my competition was very stiff, however, they were all very friendly and I learnt an awful lot from them. ”

Zimele Brown, a New Orleans native now living in Galway with his family, continued on his success from the Darts and Petanque events and took the Bronze in the Singles Bowling 30-39 Dialysis category. Zimele competed against very strong competitors  including fellow Team Ireland member Kilkenny native and newcomer to the team, Richard McEvoy. Zimele said, “this win was very hard fought. There was stiff competition from all of the countries but particularly from Richard who played very well and there was only one point between us in the end. Kilkenny native Richard McEvoy took fourth and said that he was “very happy with the outcome as Ireland has still bagged the bronze.”

Tallaght man Lenny Ryan and youngest Team Ireland member Matthew McNeive (age 18) from Mayo, Sligo’s Bridie Nicholson and Linda Waters from Athenry all put in fantastic performances at the Bowling event and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Lenny said, “the games were great craic, I played well and I was very happy with my performance.”

Newcomer to the team, Matthew McNeive, from Knock said he is really enjoying his first Games. “The whole team are so welcoming I already feel just as integral to the group as long-standing members and that’s a great feeling.” Matthew is competing in the 100m race tomorrow and the 100m relay on Saturday.

One of the oldest members of the team Charlie Ryan, a liver transplant recipient from Cobh, Cork has scooped three medals at the Games. Today he won a Bronze medal in his older age category 70+ in the Bowling Singles Event. At the first day’s events he won Gold in the Darts and on the second day he won Silver in Petanque.

Westmeath man and newcomer to the team Finian Farrell  competed in the Tennis singles event today in the 40-49 category. Finian competed very well and narrowly missed out on a medal placing and was placed fourth in his category. Finian secured Bronze earlier in the week at the Table Tennis doubles event with doubles partner Matthew McNieve. Finian really enjoyed competing today and discussed his deep appreciation to his donor and to his donor’s family for giving him the gift of life.

Results from the Golf event are still not in, however, based on the Irish golfers’ performance at previous European and World Transplant Games’ they are likely to fare well. Representing Ireland in Golf are the oldest member of the team John McAleer (age 78) from Antrim, Donegal’s Kieran Murray, Kildare man James Nolan, Dubliners Mick Dwyer, Ronald Grainger, Philip Kavanagh as well as Eddie McAuliffe, a kildare native ( now living in Offaly) and Marie O’Connor from Lahinch, Co Clare.

Transplant Team Ireland which comprises 22 men and 6 women includes 22 transplant recipients (4 liver, 17 kidney and 1 combined kidney/pancreas) and six athletes that are receiving dialysis treatment.

 The 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships involve close to 500 participants from 25 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.

The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for the coordination and organisation of Transplant Team Ireland’s participation in the European Transplant & Dialysis Championships.  

Transplant Team Ireland will return home to Dublin airport terminal 1 next Sunday (at 4pm approx. airline Norwegian.com)  For more information on the 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or visit the Games website www.vantaa2016.fi/en 

For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit websitewww.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 Code115

                                                   -Ends-

For more information contact: Gwen O’Donoghue,  Connect Communications,on behalf of the Irish Kidney Association, mob. 086 8241447

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