Every year the charity supports #TeamKent at The Games and this year the team consisted of: Paul (Team Kent Manager), Nicky (Asst. Team Kent Manager) Ryan, Tony and Lauwrence and their fabulous supporters; Judith, Daniel, Pauline, Lu & Beau.
They had a challenging start getting to Leeds, as that was the day of the national rail strike! Fortunately, Nicky saved the day by offering to drive some of the team in the KKPA car, which she’d never driven before and they left Maidstone around lunchtime on Wednesday 27th July. When they arrived in Leeds, they checked into the Travelodge, which was ideally situated in the centre of town and within walking distance of many of the event venues and once they’d completed Team Registration they all met up for a meal.
Tony had an early start on Thursday for the Archery competition. There were three categories in this event; beginner, intermediate and expert. Tony was in the expert group having medalled in this event several times in the past. Unfortunately, there was no medal for Tony this year but given that he had only recently recovered from a broken shoulder it was still an impressive performance. The Opening Ceremony was held that evening and some of the streets were closed to traffic as the Teams paraded to Millennium Square in the centre of Leeds where, after a few short speeches, live entertainment was provided for all to enjoy.
Nicky was in action on Friday and did well to come away with a bronze medal for Table-Tennis, as there were a high number of entries in the event. Later that day, Tony & Lauwrence were drawn together in one of the 18 lanes for Ten-pin Bowling, which wasn’t ideal for them but was very entertaining for the rest of the KKPA party! Initially Tony did particularly well and lead the competition at one stage but after ten rounds, just missed out on the medals.
Paul’s turn came on Saturday in the Badminton with doubles partner Vince Mayne from the Coventry Team. They managed to win a bronze medal but were a little disappointed having won this competition in the past.
On Saturday evening the 3k and 5k donor runs were held at Leeds Docks. This is the only ‘open’ event at The Games where not only transplant competitors but supporters, donor families and members of the public can take part. There is always a great party atmosphere at this event where, apart from the serious runners, many of the families and young children take part in fancy dress. Paul, Ryan, Lauwrence, Judith and Daniel took part and all managed to complete the 5k but the star of the evening was Ryan who won the overall event, finishing first and in gold medal position.
Sunday saw the athletics get underway at the John Charles stadium. All of the usual track and field events were taking place to keep us entertained, none more so than the children’s races, where some as young as four ran 50 meters, as fast as they could, into the arms of proud parents. Nicky and Lauwrence gave it their best in the Ball Throw but our next medal came in the 1500 metres when Ryan broke away from the leading group of runners on the last lap to win his second gold.
As is traditional at The Games, there was a Gala Party in the evening of the final day, this time held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. All competition now over, this was a time to relax, enjoy the food and drink provided and, for some, dance the night away.
It’s always a bit sad when The Games are over and it’s time to head off home. However, it was good to see so many friends from our transplant ‘family’ had come through the last two years or so and were still fit and well.
The Games did get a significant amount of media coverage locally, including TV, which all goes to help promote the importance of organ donation and the positive impact this has on people's lives.
Finally, all of Team Kent would like to thank our sponsor, SE Water, and all those who made it possible to participate in The Transplant Games, Leeds, 2022. Next is Coventry in 2023!
Paul German, Team Kent Manager.