Kiwi athletes celebrating second chance at life at World Transplant Games
This August more than 2000 participants from over 60 countries will descend on Newcastle Gateshead in the North East of England for the inspirational World Transplant Games.
The incredible competitors have all survived debilitating illnesses, transplant surgery and recovery and they are now fit for life – thanks to the generosity of deceased organ and tissue donors and their families.
Taking place from the 17th to 24th August 2019 the World Transplant Games will see transplant recipients plus living donors and donor family members, competing in 16 different sports, from cycling, athletics, badminton and archery to golf, swimming and petanque.
Many of the countries select their athletes from national sporting events so the standard can be very high and despite the friendly nature of the games, the competition between nations is expected to be fierce!
A team of five transplant recipients will be representing New Zealand at the Games in the cycling time trial and road race, golf, track and field athletics events, badminton, squash, tennis and table tennis.
Sheryl Power NZ Transplant Games Team Manager says “the games are a wonderful way to raise the awareness of organ and tissue donation and show the difference transplantation can make in people’s lives.”
“Many of the athletes have been critically ill and now thanks to their donors, they are enjoying being physically active and proudly representing New Zealand.”
Organised by the World Transplant Games Federation and recognised by the International Olympic Committee, one of the primary aims of the Games is to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of organ donation.
The World Transplant Games provides transplant recipients with the motivation to strive towards full rehabilitation through exercise, camaraderie and healthy living. It also an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who made it all possible – the donors, their families, health professionals, researchers and carers. Without them, many people would not be on the on the starting line.
World Transplant Games Facts
- First started in Portsmouth in 1978, the World Transplant Games are held every two years. The Games is now the largest organ donation awareness event in the world
- There are 2237 participants from 60 countries
- The oldest participant is 84 years old man from France, competing in cycling 30k, road race, 50m breaststroke, 400m track and 1500m track.
- The youngest participant is a six year old girl from Argentina competing in ball throw, long jump and 50m sprint.
- New countries participating in the 2019 Games are Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal and Slovenia.
- The biggest team is Great Britain with 510 competitors followed by the USA with 214.
- The most popular sports are the track and field events with 1594 entries.
- Over 800 local volunteers will be on hand to provide the athletes with a famous Geordie welcome.