Irish athletes fly out to World Transplant Games

IRELAND’S largest ever team flew out for the World Transplant Games in Sweden yesterday with news that transplantation and donation figures for the first half of this year are very positive.

The 33-strong team, which includes transplant athletes from throughout Ireland who range in age from 9 to 70-plus, will be among the 1,100 athletes from over 50 countries who will participate in the games, which will take place in Gothenburg from June 17 to 24.

Team captain and self-described veteran of the team Michael Dwyer said all the athletes taking part would be thinking of their donor families while competing.

“We have a good team and some new people involved. We are sorry to have left some people behind through sickness but we will be thinking of them. We will also be thinking of our families and our donor families. Taking part in the games and staying fit and healthy are a tribute to them,” he said.

Michael, who had a kidney transplant 11 years ago, and will take part in the golf and badminton events felt the Irish team would bring home some medals.

At the previous World Transplant Games held in Gold Coast, Australia in 2009, the Irish team of 19 athletes scooped 10 gold, seven silver and five bronze. The 22-medal haul placed Ireland 11th out of the 50 competing countries on the medals table.

Speaking at a pre-departure event yesterday, games manager Colin White expressed his pleasure at positive figures for transplants and donations.

“It is great to hear that transplantation and donation figures for the first half of this year are very favourable and we hope that through the team’s participation in these games that we can further boost public support and awareness of organ donation and transplantation while honouring organ donors,” he said.

The Irish team members have all received major organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

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