independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Ireland's first ever liver transplant recipient wins silver medal

Ireland’s first man to get a liver transplant has nabbed second place in a 5k road race.

As part of the 19th World Transplant Games in South Africa, in which over 1000 athletes from 50 countries are participating, 50-year-old Tony Gartland has competed in his first race – and won a silver medal.

“I’m naturally delighted and also relieved as the first race breaks the tension,” he said. “I was very nervous at the beginning, but now I feel I can enjoy this week and participate in my other sporting events at the Games.”      

Twenty years ago, Hacketstown-based Tony underwent surgery at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. Now the hospital is funding the cost of sending their first ever liver transplant recipient, as part of Transplant Team Ireland, to compete in the Games in Durban.

Tony will be hoping to add to his early achievement as he competes in a series of events over the course of the Games. His previous accolades include breaking the world record in the 5000m race walk event in the 40-49 year age category at the 17th World Transplant Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

The Transplant Team Ireland is made up of 24 athletes of all ages and both genders – all of whom have received organ transplants at some point in their lives. 

National Team Manager Colin White, said “Their achievements offer inspiration to others experiencing organ failure and an impetus to the general public to embrace organ donation”.

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