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The 2011 World Transplant Games in Sweden
27 June 2011
This year Australia had one of its largest teams ever to participate in the World Transplant Games. The team comprised of 82 athletes and 83 supporters and included Team Manager Ann Stein and Team Doctor Dr John Moran.
The Games week started with the Team Dinner. Everyone introduced themselves and briefly talked a little about what it personally meant to them to be there and a terrific bond was immediately established. Throughout the entire week the Australian team were extremely supportive of one another. There was a great mix of transplant recipients (athletes) and supporters who comprised of family and friends, donor families and living donors.
Although it did rain on the parade, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Australian team who paraded proudly through the streets of Gotenburg to arrive at the Opening Ceremony. Richard Hayes carried the Australian flag and represented the athletes and Kelly Ashley carried the Australian Indigenous Flag. The two of them proudly led the Australian team - there were big smiles on all the team’s faces which were mirrored by the Gotenburg community who lined the streets to cheer everyone on.
One of the first events was floorball. This is an indoor hockey game which is popular in Europe. It certainly isn’t common in Australia! But, the Australian team were fantastic. They displayed great skill and teamwork and came so close to beating the United Kingdom in the bronze medal play off. Although they were all totally exhausted and incredibly sore afterwards they all said that they had the time of their lives.
Throughout the Games week there were great displays of talent and it was also clear that the athletes had trained extremely hard leading up to the Games. Our effort in the medal count was outstanding – coming third at the Games! But, it wasn’t all about the medals. The personal challenges that some of the athletes faced were truly inspiring. Many achieved more than they could have ever felt physically possible and the entire team displayed great sportsmanship and support for each other.
The Games really are and a wonderful opportunity to join together with others who have been touched by organ donation and transplantation and a powerful way to demonstrate to the world at large the miracle of organ transplantation. Check out the photos and be inspired! We hope to see you all next year in Newcastle for the 13th Australian Transplant Games.