Page 23 - Support Magazine Winter 2017
P. 23

honour. Sitting in the hard seats   Thursday. This was a huge deal for  get my third jump in.
        watching the rest of the Opening    them because they had seen how I      Standing on the podium to collect
        Ceremony not so great!              had suffered over the years through  my bronze medal with the tricolour
           Our hotel in Malaga was fantastic,  my illness and now I was healthy  raised in the air and my family, friends
        right on the beach. Straight away little  enough to compete at the Games.   and other competitors from the team
        friendships were developing amongst   On Friday morning I was up again  roaring me on with encouragement
        us. Each day after our 6am starts we  at 6am, my first event on the track  was a very proud moment for me.
        would unwind on the beach for a half  had been brought forward to 8am. I  The Transplant Games is a
        hour before going to dinner. These  needed to eat and get to the stadium  wonderful way to show how the gift
        were long days. The buses for most  as soon as I could. We arrived there at  of transplantation and organ donation
        events would leave the hotel at 7.05  7.40, the bus journey was a       can change a person’s life. I met some
        each morning so it was up at six, have  nightmare, I thought we would never  wonderful courageous people from all
        breakfast and out the door.         get there. I couldn’t miss my first  over the world. These competitors had
           The golf tournament was played in  event, not after the year long training  heart, lung, liver, pancreas and bone
        Guadalahorca Golf Club on the edge  I had put in to get there.          marrow transplants as well as others
        of Malaga. The rounds were played in  I arrived at registration and went  with kidney transplants, like myself. I
        35 degrees of heat and lasted       straight down to the track getting  hope to be meeting these friends for
        between 6 and 7 hours, even the     there just before start time as I   many more years at future Games.
        practice round took 6 hours.        thought. I did a few quick warm-up    The publicity I received from local
           My first event was the singles golf –  stretches, a couple of jumps into the  media before, during and after the
        standing on the first tee I took a  pit and decided I needed one more   Games all concentrated on the fact
        moment to look to the blue sky, thank  jump before the event started just to  that not so long ago they were writing
        my donor, their family and everybody  get my run-up perfect. I jumped into  and talking to me about being on
        else that had helped me to get here.  the pit and pulled a muscle. The short  dialysis or the transplant list. Now they
        That night after the event I was so  warm-up had come back to haunt     were talking about me being a world
        tired I could not keep my eyes open  me. I was in tears, why, after all the  medallist - people are still stopping me
        during dinner, I thought I would have  training was I going to be denied a  in the street congratulating me on
        to be spoon fed! I was in bed at 9pm!  chance to compete. Our Doctor Claire  getting there and saying how great it
           Wednesday night was culture night.  Kennedy came down, we spoke about  was that I could compete.
        We went to the Automobile and       what I wanted to do, I just wanted    As a first-time competitor all I can
        Culture Centre. This was brilliant with  one jump. I knew competing in my  do is encourage all of you to think
        all 51 countries that were competing  two sprint events was now out of the  about competing at a future Games.
        in attendance, some in national     question so I wanted to put         There is a sport to suit all, nobody
        costume and some of the Irish in their  everything I could into the Long Jump  expects you to break world records
        O’Neills GAA jerseys. We all soaked up  and deal with the consequences later.   even though we did have a few of
        the music and the food. The golfers   We strapped up my leg, I took two  them. We congratulate the person
        were the first to leave - as with   Panadol and took my first jump, a foul  who crosses the line last as much as
        Tuesday they had an early start and  jump, second jump foul, I had no idea  we hug the person who comes first. It
        the prospect of a long day in the sun  how to hit the board as I was carrying  is a wonderful second family to have. I
        on the golf course.                 one leg, Team mate, Kieran Murray,  look forward to meeting each and
           My wife and two children arrived to  from Donegal came up to me and  every one of them every time. Roll on
        watch and support me compete on     gave me enough encouragement to     Sardinia 2018 and Newcastle 2019.

        Monty Summers (Australia) with James Nolan,
         Michelle Reinhardt McCabe, Kieran Murray
                                                                    Darts triples team Charlie Ryan, Lenny Ryan and Mike Keohane with Australian

                                                                    Deirdre Faul on the medal podium
               Mags and Aoife Murray        Claire Kennedy, Rachel Eagleton  at the pool  Peter Heffernan
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