Jordanstown pensioner scores big at Transplant Games

John McAleer with his silver and bronze medals.  INLT 29-662-CON
John McAleer with his silver and bronze medals. INLT 29-662-CON

Retired Ulster University lecturer John McAleer from Jordanstown has scooped silver and bronze medals at the 9th European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships in Vantaa, Finland.

Aged 78, the kidney transplant recipient is the oldest Transplant Team Ireland member, as well as the oldest participant at the Championships. He won a silver medal for golf and a bronze in the petanque.

Transplant Team Ireland enjoyed huge success at the event, with their final medal tally including a staggering 21 gold, 19 silver and 29 bronze.

This placed Ireland’s 28 strong team in fifth position on the medals table with host country Finland, and a much larger team of 96 athletes, taking top position out of 24 competing countries.

In second place was Hungary, followed by Great Britain and then Germany.

A large gathering of family, friends and supporters festooned with flags, banners and bunting, greeted the team on it’s arrival home to Dublin airport on Sunday.

Transplant Team Ireland this year comprises 22 men and six women, including 22 transplant recipients (four liver, 17 kidney and one combined kidney/pancreas) and six athletes that are receiving dialysis treatment. The biennial World Transplant Games will be held in Malaga next year and many of Transplant Team Ireland are planning on participating there.

For more information on the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or visit the Games website www.vantaa2016.fi/en

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