THERE was major cause for celebration in Scariff and East Clare this week as local woman, Jennifer Tuohy won a bronze medal in the cycling event at the European Transplant and Dialysis Games in Dublin.
A regular medal winner in national and international competition, on this occasion, the Clare cyclist did exceptionally well to take bronze in the race where two Hungarians crossed the line ahead of her.
Jennifer, along with Lahinch woman, Marie O’Connor are members of the 71-strong Irish team at the games. It will be Marie’s turn to go into action over the next couple of days. Carrying the theme “to honour the gift of life”, the games opened on Sunday after a parade of competitors, before a large crowd at Dublin City University.
Athletes taking part in the games are either on dialysis treatment at the moment or have received a transplant of one, or a combination, of the following – kidney, liver, heart, pancreas, lungs and bone marrow.
“These games are incredibly special because every athlete who takes to the starting line has already won a major personal battle to just be there,” said Irish team captain Mick Dwyer, who received a kidney transplant ten years ago.
Over 350 transplant and dialysis athletes from all over Europe have converged on DCU, where the Games Village is located. They took part in the colourful opening ceremony led by the RTÉ’s Mary Kennedy, who acted as MC for the evening.
“Planning for these games has taken the best part of two years. It is a major logistical undertaking, particularly as we have athletes who will require dialysis while they are here in Dublin,” said Colin White, chairman of the organising committee.
“The sports involved are badminton, ten pin bowling, cycling, darts, track and field, golf, mini-marathon, petanque, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and volleyball. We have a dedicated team of volunteers who will make it all happen.”
The visiting athletes come from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.