Wednesday 23 January 2019

Tony flying the flag for Wicklow at EU games

Tony Gartland.
Tony Gartland.

Esther Hayden

Hacketstown athlete Tony Gartland will represent Ireland at this year's 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships.

The current panel of Transplant Team Ireland comprises 24 athletes, 10 women and 14 men, ranging in age from 31 to 80, and includes five liver transplant recipients, 16 kidney transplant recipients and three dialysis patients including two women who underwent combined kidney/pancreas transplants but, while they await another kidney transplant, their pancreas transplants are still functioning.

Tony was the first person to undergo a liver transplant in Ireland. The liver transplant operation took place in 1999, 25 years ago.

The bachelor, from Hacketstown on the Carlow/Wicklow border, who is a self employed carpenter, is one to watch having enjoyed success at previous Games over many years.

He has participated in every biennial World Transplant Games, bar one, since 1995 and he competed in three European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships which take place on alternate years to World Games. Tony has accumulated a large haul of medals from both Europeans and World Games.

At the three European Games he participated in Slovenia 2004, Hungary 2006 and Dublin 2010 he managed to win three medals in each country in all colours, Gold, Silver and Bronze for his race events.

This year he will be competing in the 50-59 years age category and his events are: 5km road run; 3km power walk; 800m track; 1500m track; Ten Pin bowling singles

The games take place in Cagliari, Sardinia between June 17 and 24 and over 25 countries and 470 participants are expected to participate.

Team Manager Colin White said: 'The Irish team has developed a wonderful reputation at the European Championships over the years. There is a great history of top results - regularly finishing in the top 5 countries on the medals table. Also, the team's sense of fair play and camaraderie are always appreciated.

'Team members take on the personal challenges offered by the Championships, but they also take on the collective responsibility to showcase the importance and success of organ donation and transplantation. I always enjoy the impact that the team's endeavours have on others living with organ failure. Their positive can-do attitude inspires those newly diagnosed to realise that there is the potential for a very full and rewarding future.'

For more information on the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog or visit the Games website

Transplant Team Ireland depart on Saturday.

Wicklow People