PRESS RELEASE 30.6.17
It’s 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals for Transplant Team Ireland on Day 5 of the 21st World Transplant Games in Malaga
Two Irish women have ran their way to victory today in their race events at the 21st World Transplant Games in Malaga. Sinead McGowan from Renmore, Galway won both a Gold and a Silver medal today in her races coming first in the 400m race and second in the 1500m race. Also winning Gold today was Michelle Reinhardt McCabe from Smithboro, Monaghan in the 100m sprint event. On the second last day of events at track and field Transplant Team Ireland racked up a total of 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals which they can now add to their already impressive tally.
Track and field events also saw Corkman Pat O’Sullivan (from Mallow) win a Bronze medal in the Long Jump event and Mick Dwyer from Cabinteely, Dublin win his second medal at the Games, a Silver in the Ball Throw (age category 60-69 years) having already won a Gold yesterday in the Golf pairs event with teammate Garry Campbell from Greystones. Dubliner Ron Grainger (from Castleknock) won a Bronze medal in the 100m sprint event. Other members of Transplant Team Ireland put in great performances in athletics today and Dubliner Angela Sherlock (from Whitehall) came 4th in the Discus event and James Nolan from Kildare came 5th in the 400m race.
Earlier today Sinead McGowan from Renmore battled through the Spanish heat to succeed in coming 2nd in the 1500m race for which she secured a Silver medal and then later today she took part in her favourite distance, the 400m race, and was justly rewarded for her outstanding performance by coming first with a Gold medal. Sinead, who has racked up three medals at the Games, secured the first medal for Transplant Team Ireland on the opening day when, in temperatures reaching the mid 30s, she ran in the 5km road race and won a Silver medal.
After winning her two races today Sinead said, “The 1500m race was tough. It was very hot. The 400m is my favourite race. I’ve done it at every games. I’ve been at since 2011 and have always won silver so today is the day I’ve finally got the Gold. I have to thank my brother Seamus, my donor who made it possible for me to be here. Thanks to my family and my partner Phil for all their support. It has been unwavering and particularly my dad who is not well enough to travel this year but is usually here with me”.
A Monaghan woman and newcomer to Transplant Team Ireland has won a Gold medal in the 100m sprint event today. Delighted with her Gold medal, Michelle Reinhardt McCabe from Smithboro, who has been in Malaga all week with the team and her family but only participated in her first events today said, “It was worth the wait. I’m delighted. Only for my donor and their family I wouldn’t be here, so, a great big thank you to them. I’m having a great time at my first games. I’ll definitely be back. Thanks to Clones Athletics Club and everyone who supported me. I’ve a big support group here. It’s brilliant”.
Following their medals victories two ladies, Sinead and Michelle, went on to compete together as part of a Relay team (4 x 100m) along with teammates Dubliners Aoife Murray and Angela Sherlock and came in a respectable 4th position.
Delighted with his Bronze medal in the Long Jump, Pat O Sullivan, a Regional Manager for Irish Rail in Mallow, is a newcomer to Transplant Team Ireland as he underwent a kidney transplant less than two years ago (August 2015). Speaking after his event, the father of two said, “The event was tough. I sustained a groin injury while practicing for the the event but I ‘m delighted with how it went. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my donor. It’s all thanks to them. I’m thrilled to be going home with a Bronze world medal. I’m loving my first games and the camaraderie between everyone.The team and supporters are fantastic. Everyone comes together . I hope to be able to attend many more Games.”
Dubliner Mick Dwyer, a kidney transplant recipient said after winning his second medal, “It’s great to see people of my age category and older taking part and doing so well. A huge thank you to my donor and their family. Everyone competing here has trained extremely hard. No medal is easily won. I’m delighted to be here. I’m thoroughly enjoying the week. It’s excellent to see familiar faces from other countries. I hope to be at the games for many years to come”.
Ron Grainger, a retired Urologist from Castleknock and kidney transplant recipient, said after winning his Bronze medal in the 100m race, “I’m wrecked after that. I’m truly happy to have done as well as I did considering how unwell I felt over the last few days. I’m so grateful to be here and to honour the person who gave me this great gift. I gave it my all. A big thank you to my family for supporting me, my three children and wife for being here. I also want to thank my coach Gary Brown from Origin fitness in Sandyford. I want to dedicate my presence here in memory of my father, and also to my brother. The three of us have shared in the gift of transplantation.”
Kildare kidney transplant man, James Nolan was a patient of Ron Grainger. James, an award winning butcher from Kilcullen, said after crossing the finish line in the 400m race in 5th position, “I absolutely love taking part. It’s fantastic to come here and race despite my knee injury. To come here into the stadium with the other athletes and feel the buzz is fantastic. I’ve ran against these people for years. The camaraderie is brilliant. I ran to the best of my ability. This race is for Sarah Jane Treacy and also of course for my sister Catherine who gave me a kidney. My wife Emma and my son Andrew James are here with me and they are the most fantastic support. I know how privileged I am to be here. This is my 25th Games in total including British, European and World Transplant Games”.
Orla Hogan a kidney transplant recipient from Tipperary competed in the 3km Race Walk this morning, this was her final event of the Games. Orla really enjoyed the race, following it she said, “I am so happy to have completed the race. The atmosphere was electric! I am loving this week, it’s been brilliant to make new friends and meet old friends.”
The final events of the games takes place tomorrow, Saturday and Transplant Team Ireland will return home to Dublin airport on Sunday evening, 2nd July.
The Irish team of 27 athletes are competing among close to 1000 transplant recipients form over 50 countries. Every athlete at the World Transplant Games will have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.
The Irish team includes four newcomers. Although the main objective for team members is to embrace life and promote organ donation, some returning team members are also contesting World titles. Keen to build on their medal successes at the previous World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015, Deirdre Faul, Kieran Murray, Tony Gartland and Peter Heffernan have trained hard for the Malaga games. Between them, the much smaller team of four won 13 medals including 7 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze in Argentina. Two years previously at the World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa 2013, the Irish team of 24 athletes scooped 34 medals including 12 Gold, 10 Silver and 12 bronze with 50 competing countries.
Athletes compete in their respective age categories in the following events: badminton, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, squash, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, mini-marathon, and track and field.
The Irish Team will return home on Sunday 2nd July and their Ryanair flight is expected to land in Dublin airport at 17.30 hours. An informal homecoming reception by family, friends and supporters will take place in the Arrivals Hall (Terminal One) as the team are expected to come through after collecting baggage at approx. 18 hrs.
THE FULL IRISH PANEL IS AS FOLLOWS (and their individual ‘athlete profiles’ are on the team blog):-
ANTRIM: John McAleer, Newtownabbey (kidney) (oldest member of the team)
CORK: Mike Keohane, Clonakilty (liver); Charlie Ryan, Cobh (liver); Michael Kiely, Mitchelstown, on the Limerick border (kidney); Pat O’Sullivan, Mallow (kidney)
CARLOW: Tony (Patrick Anthony)Gartland, Hacketstown(liver), first liver transplant person in Ireland
CLARE: Marie O’Connor, Lahinch (kidney)
DONEGAL: Kieran Murray, Ramelton (kidney)
GALWAY: Sinead McGowan, Renmore (living in Australia)
KERRY: Con Brosnan, Killarney (kidney)
KILDARE: James Nolan, Kilcullen (kidney)
MEATH: Tony Gavigan, Navan, a native of Lanesborough, Longford (kidney transplant and father of deceased donor); Rachel Eagleton, Bettystown (kidney) – youngest member of the team
MONAGHAN: Michelle Reinhardt McCabe, Smithboro (kidney)
TIPPERARY: Orla Hogan, Nenagh (kidney); Sheila Gregan, Nenagh (kidney)
WICKLOW: Garry Campbell, Greystones (kidney)
DUBLIN: Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D.15 (kidney); Harry Ward, Team Captain, Baldoyle, D.13 (kidney); Paul Prendergast, Santry, D.9 (kidney); Anthony Byrne, Artane (kidney); Angela Sherlock, Greenhills (kidney); Peter Heffernan, Skerries (kidney); Aoife Murray, Clonsilla, (liver);
Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely (kidney); Leonard Ryan, Tallaght, D 24 (kidney); and Deirdre Faul, Dalkey (liver).
Team Manager, Colin White from Balbriggan, Dublin
Team Doctor, Claire Kennedy, from Lucan and living in Clontarf, Dublin
For organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie/card You can now download the IKA’s new digital donor card by visiting www.donor.ie on your smartphone.Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115.
NOTE: Transplant Team Ireland’s return flight on Ryanair is expected to land at Dublin airport Terminal One on Sunday July 2nd at 17.30 hours. An informal homecoming reception by family, friends and supporters will take place in the Arrivals Hall (Terminal One) as the team are expected to come through after collecting baggage at approx. 18 hrs. Photographer Conor McCabe will be covering this homecoming event (no repro fee) tel. 085 7057255
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
For further information contact: Gwen O’Donoghue 086 8241447