British Transplant Games Medway 23 – 27th August, 2012
Report by Team Bristol manager Catharine Hall
This years games took place in Medway Kent, sporting venues were spread throughout the area with events in Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Dartford. Many of the venues were used by Olympic teams prior to London 2012 and will be used by the upcoming Paralympics.
Team Bristol took a team of 21 to the games, unfortunately we were missing three of our star performers due to medical problems and injuries, but it was still a larger team than we took to Belfast last year. The team now regularly numbers over 20 athletes which is very gratifying and we are amongst the largest and most successful teams to take part.
The team travelled down to Kent on the 23rd August, we had a team hotel this year and it is nice to have everyone in the same place. It makes management easier and is good for team spirit too !
The games opened with a parade starting at the spectacular Rochester castle and finishing in Rochester cathedral. The parade was lead by all the members of TSUK who had been Olympic torch bearers resplendent in their Team GB tracksuits and carrying their Olympic torches.
The opening ceremony took place in the cathedral where teams were addressed by various local civic leaders. Entertainment was provided by a local dance group and an excellent Welsh male voice choir.
Sporting action started on Thursday with Archery and Squash taking place before the opening parade. These are usually good events for us and get the team off to a flying start. This year we were missing both our archers and our squash player Claire was seated firmly in a wheelchair with a chipped thigh bone !. Needless to say we were medal free on the first day, a slow start much like Team GB in the Olympics !
Friday saw action in the Table Tennis, Bowling, Tennis, Golf,Race Walk, Darts and the Cycling Road Race. We picked up medals in almost all these events with some particularly strong performances from Charlotte Taylor, Tony Seaman, Jeremy Nicholls, Will Veale and Ruth Medcroft.
Jeremy took Gold in the scratch golf shooting a superb 4 over par 75 despite dropping a few shots on the tricky par 3’s.
Charlotte took a Silver with some excellent attacking table tennis.
Ruth came back from the race walk with a silver.
Tony Seaman in his first games finished a very creditable 4th in the Road Race against a very strong field, he was unlucky not to medal having been on the wheel in the lead breakaway group for the duration of the race.
Another newcomer Will Veale medalled in both the darts and the bowling. The darts field was 28 strong and Will did exceptionally well to reach the semi finals. Will was tipped as a County player pre transplant and its fair to say he was over the moon with his result. I have no doubt he will continue to be a valuable member of the team in the years to come.
A special mention must go to Claire Downer who came to the games unable to walk due to a leg injury and subsequent operation. A Team GB regular Claire is invariably a multi medal winner. Despite her mobility problems Claire managed to win five matches in the table tennis and take Gold playing on one leg and a crutch, very impressive !
Saturday is always a busy day for the Bristol athletes, we are a very strong team in the badminton and swimming and this year was no exception.
Badminton saw Silver medals for Team Manager Catharine Hall, Iain Mackay, Steve Nicholls and Mike McCallister along with a bronze for Dami Howard.
The swim team did Bristol proud as always. We were missing our outstanding GB star Ro Winstone this year, but we still had 4 Team GB regulars to field including Allegra Martin who is the current world record holder in the 100m Breaststroke.
We also welcomed Tony Seaman into the swim team for the first time. Tony is a triathlete and an excellent all round athlete. He is in perhaps the most hotly contested age group with a very high standard but came away with two bronze in the 50m and 100m freestyle. This was an excellent performance and we hope Tony will continue with the team next year and beyond.
Every one of the swim team medalled. The twins Margaret Mills and Monica Moss came away with 2 Golds and a Silver each and not to be outdone Allegra did the same !.There were also medals for Charlotte Taylor and Jake Peplow.
In total the team left the pool with 13 medals and won their heat in the relay too.
Sunday is Track and Field day, traditionally Bristol has not had a strong athletics and field squad but we are getting stronger every time. I had cautiously targeted 12 medals for Sunday. In the event we did rather better and brought home 14 which was a pleasant surprise.
On the track, special mention must go to Vince Taylor, Ruth Medcroft, Charlotte Taylor and our track queen LJ Brisland.
Vince took Gold in the 100m in an excellent time along with a Silver in the long jump. He also held on for Bronze in the 200m despite pulling a hamstring 30m before the line.
Charlotte took Gold in the 400m and 1500m, it was Charlottes first competitive 400m so a great performance.
Ruth took a bronze in the 100m and was just piped on the line for Silver in a very tight finish to the 1500m.
LJ had some travel problems and arrived minutes before her first race, not ideal preparation but she managed to take Gold in the 400m and 800m.
In the field events we had two Silvers from Iain Mackay along with 2 Golds from Margaret and Monica in the javelin and discus. Surprise result of the day was Dami Howard who took a Gold in the long jump at her first attempt in the discipline, well done Dami !
Overall our final total was 42 medals of which 17 were Gold,12 Silver and 13 Bronze. This is an excellent performance given the injury problems we had in build up. I estimate we were about 15 medals down due to the missing team members this year and would have possibly broken our record with everyone present and fit.
The games closed with the traditional Gala Dinner and awards night. We were trophy free this year, but TM Catharine was nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to Transplant Sport award and made the final shortlist of five names.
Catharine and Dave will start preparations for Sheffield 2013 early in the new year. If you are interested in joining the team please contact Catharine at firstname.lastname@example.org (note the spelling is correct as printed, we do get mails going astray due to the unusual spelling of Catharines name !)
To compete you need to have been transplanted for at least 6 months prior to the start date of the competition and of course your transplant needs to be functioning. We accept athletes of all ages from 18-80 and there is no selection process to join the team, all are welcome.