A SKERRIES man has made quite a splash in the pool at the European Transplant and Dialysis Games, claiming two bronze medals on the same day. Peter Heffernan, a kidney transplant recipient, won a bronze in the 50m freestyle event in his 50-59 age category, and then followed it up with another medal in the relay at the seventh European Transplant and Dialysis Games in Zagreb in Croatia.
Speaking about his first event Peter said: 'It was a tough race. It was great to catch my opponent in the last minute. I am currently a year transplanted and I am so thankful to my donor and their family that's the main message of the day. The atmosphere here is fantastic. I would like to wish a big thanks to the team for all their support here today they have been fantastic. I am delighted to have the gift of life. No regrets.'
Ranging in age from 18 to 74, Transplant Team Ireland was the biggest team to compete at the games, which involve over 300 athletes from 28 countries throughout Europe. Prior to their departure, Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar said: 'Each of you have persevered along a difficult path to get to this stage. It is a tremendous honour that you as athletes, your families and friends should be very proud of. 'I am certain that all 26 athletes will be marvellous ambassadors for Ireland, representing both your country and your sport with honour and pride. As well as competing at the Games you are also highlighting the enormous benefits that organ donation and transplant brings.' Speaking about the European Games, team manager Colin White from Balbriggan said: ' The Irish Team has a great reputation for fair play and strong competitiveness at international events. Our team of 26 competitors, including 6 newcomers, has prepared well and we are looking forward to joining our friends from across Europe in celebrating life through sport. The message from these Games is clear – Organ Donation Works! I encourage the public to Think About It, Talk About It and make a commitment to organ donation.'