A new chapter in the history books of the World Transplant Games is about to be written in Newcastle and Gateshead, building on four decades of the games across twenty cities around the globe. This is a prestigious event, with 2,500 transplant athletes attending the 2017 games in Malaga, Spain.
This year will see over 3,000 athletes, from more than 60 countries, competing in Newcastle and Gateshead, between the 17th and 23rd of August 2019.
Games contested over the past forty years are similar to the Olympics, with major events in track & field, swimming, cycling, football, and even ten pin bowling. The first competitive sporting event for transplant recipients took place in Portsmouth, England in 1978 with around 99 competitors from the UK, France, Germany, Greece and the USA.
In 1987, the World Transplant Games Federation was officially formed and now has nearly 70 member countries worldwide. The competitors at the Games are unique in that each one of them is alive and well as a result of a successful organ transplant, or is a living donor. The Games embrace all ages, anyone from 4 to 80 years old who qualifies is welcome to participate. The standards are very high. The 100 meters has a record of 11.18 seconds and the long jump 6.85 metres!
We are proud to say that Team GB have historically done very well in the Games, with a haul of 166 gold medals, 90 silver medals, and 104 bronze medals in the most recent games in Malaga. With a total medal count of 360, Team GB were top of the medal table, with 216 more medals than second placed Team USA.
Team GB also came out on top at the 2015 games in Mar del Plata, Argentina, with 122 gold medals, 76 silver, and 48 bronze for a total medal count of 246. Host nation Argentina were runners up with 144 total medals.
Around 1,100 athletes participated in the Argentina games, which goes to show just how much the Word Transplant Games has grown over the past four years. Over 3,000 athletes are expected in Newcastle and Gateshead, making the 2019 games the most competitive in World Transplant Games history. Will Team GB continue their recent dominance? You can find out by attending the games, or following the action on our dedicated Games minisite.
Don’t forget there’s also a very serious side to these games. Right now across the UK, there are over 6,000 people on the transplant waiting list including around 150 children and teenagers. On average three people die every day who could have benefited from an organ transplant.
We need more people to support donation. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register today and share the decision with your family, the process is straightforward and only takes a few minutes.