19 April 2023
~6 minutes read
Galway Athlete wins Silver at World Transplant Games
The West of Ireland might have been asleep in the early hours of this morning while far away down under in Australia, one of their own, kidney transplant recipient Teresa Smyth was battling it out in a world darts competition. For her valiant effort, the 67-year-old grandmother from Williamstown, Galway (on the Mayo and Roscommon border) secured a Silver medal at the World Transplant Games in Perth.
“Brilliant, Just Brilliant! It’s great, I didn’t expect it but I’m delighted”, is how overjoyed Teresa described winning a Silver medal securing herself a place on the medals podium with an Australian heart transplant recipient who won Gold and a Hong Kong competitor who Teresa beat in a play off. Her medals bring the tally won by Transplant Team Ireland to 2 Gold and 4 Silver so far at the Games which continue until this Friday, with golf and athletics events for members of the 14 strong Irish team still to compete in. Before leaving Ireland for the Games Teresa, who underwent her kidney transplant in 2001, said, “I am doing this in honour of my donor and their family who have given me a wonderful 22 years of good health.”
Teresa kicked off her darts match in style, quickly establishing a clear lead in her group where the overall winner scored the highest scores. As winner in her first round group, she then proceeded to the playoffs where things got a little more difficult as 301 rules were then used – the first player to hit a zero score exactly wins.
Despite being the first competitor to get close to zero, she lost that game when she hit a double 19 rather than the single 19 needed. However, she bounced back in the second game winning this after a very tight finish.
The third game was won by the Hong Kong Competitor, Yeun Wah Ip so a further play off was needed.
In the fourth game, the Australian competitor Merrell Carter won, securing the coveted gold medal position. There was huge applause when Merrill, who had a heart transplant and is currently using a walking aid, received her medal.
The play off for Silver and Bronze was then between Teresa and Hong Kong competitor Yeun Wah Ip. Teresa established an early lead, and unlike previous games was able to finish very quickly by scoring 10, thus winning the Silver medal.
Teresa was supported by her daughter Rachel, who lives in Perth and is due to give birth to her second child in three weeks. Teresa will stay on in Perth after the World Transplant Games to be with Rachel and her soon to be born baby.
Teresa’s friend Kathleen and her goddaughter Aoife were also there to cheer her on.
Ranging in age from 36 right up to 75, the current Transplant Team Ireland panel of 10 inspirational men and 4 women travelling to Perth for the World Transplant Games have all received organ transplants including 2 liver, 2 bone marrow, and 10 kidney. They will be among 1,524 participants from 46 countries, all embracing their gift of life and honouring their donors in this celebration of life through sport.
Competition at the Games is by age category and Transplant Team Ireland will have representatives in the following eleven sports: Cycling; Darts; Golf; Lawn Bowls; Petanque; Road Race; Swimming; Table Tennis; Ten Pin Bowling; Tennis; and Triathlon.
Each of the athletes is funding their participation in the Games (Games registration, flights, accommodation, and meals) through fundraising in the name of the Irish Kidney Association/Transplant Team Ireland, and using their own funds. The team is proud to wear the Team Kit which, this year, has been sponsored by the Health Services Staffs Credit Union (HSSCU).
To find out more about the World Transplant Games visit the website www.worldtransplantgames.org and to find out more about members of Transplant Team Ireland and to follow their progress at the Games, you can follow the team blog; www.transplantteamireland.ie The World Transplant Games has its own App. which contains information on competition schedules, venue locations and results, just search for WTG Event in the App store.
THE FULL IRISH PANEL IS AS FOLLOWS INCLUDING THEIR TRANSPLANT ORGAN (their individual ‘athlete profiles’ are on the team blog www.transplantteamireland.ie ) :-
CARLOW: Brian Duignan, Palatine (kidney)
Tony Gartland, Hacketstown near WICKLOW (Liver)
CORK: Michael Kiely, Ballylanders, Mitchelstown, on LIMERICK border (living kidney donor)
Pat O’Sullivan, Mallow (kidney)
Hugh Nolan, Donaraile (kidney)
Mairead O’Mahony, Berrings (bone marrow)
GALWAY: Teresa Smyth, Williamstown, Dunmore, Tuam (kidney)
KILDARE: Bernadette Cox, Newbridge (kidney)
LIMERICK: John Loftus, Clarina (kidney)
MEATH: Tony Gavigan, Navan and native of LONGFORD father of deceased donor (kidney)
TIPPERARY: Sheila Gregan, Nenagh, (kidney)
DUBLIN: Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D 15 (kidney)
Finbar O’Regan, Pearse Street, Dublin 2 (Liver)
Nick Heather, Sutton, Dublin, now living in Melbourne, Australia (bone marrow)
TEAM MANAGER, Colin White from Balbriggan, Dublin
While some of the team will be extending their time in Australia after the World Transplant Games conclude, about half of the team will return home on Sunday, 23rd April on a Qatar flight to Dublin airport’s Terminal One and their flight is scheduled to land at 1.40pm
Individuals who wish to support organ donation are encouraged to Share their Wishes with their family and keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s licence or having the ‘digital organ donor card’ App on their smartphone. Organ Donor Cards can be requested by visiting the IKA website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or to your phone, phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050.