Tralee Man Enjoys Participating In European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships

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Stephen Byrne from Tralee.

TRALEE man Stephen Byrne may not have been among the medals but he enjoyed taking part in the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Vantaa, Finland.

Stephen Byrne from Ballyrickard took part in a 200m race in an older age category on Saturday and crossed the finish line in 5th position. Earlier in the week Stephen, who underwent a kidney transplant in April 2015, also took part in petanque and bowling.

At this events and his race on Saturday he was cheered on by his wife Francene, daughter Jennifer (age 18) and son Ethan (14). Speaking about his Games experience he said; “It’s been a fantastic week. It’s wonderful to be fit and well enough to come here and to be able to compete just over a year after receiving a kidney transplant. I had some health setbacks since my transplant initially until it settled in a few months ago. I only started to train for the Games in April this year. I took part to honour my donor. It been brilliant to have my family here with me.”

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Transplant Team Ireland reeled in more medals on the final events day at the Championships. Early on Saturday, Garda Alan Gleeson, from Listowel, along with Urologist Ron Grainger from Dublin each secured Gold in their 200m sprint events and Ron went on to win his second Gold  in the Long Jump event and then a Bronze in the the Ball Throw event. Alan had to pull out of the relay race event to attend his dialysis treatment.

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Alan Gleeson.

On Friday, Alan  won a Gold medal in the 100m sprint and a Silver in the Long jump event before events were postponed due to heavy rainfall.

Alan, who is stationed as a Garda in Dublin, after winning Gold in his 200m sprint race said, “I’m delighted to have won this medal. The hard work has paid off. I’ve been practicing at ALSAA Sports Complex and the Phoenix Park. It’s great to have a few medals to bring home to all my fantastic supporters in Ireland. I’m over the moon.”

The 28 strong Transplant Team Ireland has put in a tremendous performance at the week long games amassing a total of 21 Gold, 19 Silver and 29 Bronze medals. The team is returning home to Ireland today.

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