A group of dedicated sportsmen and sportswomen will celebrate life when Gqeberha hosts the 14th National Transplant Games, supported by SPAR Eastern Cape, on July 7 and 8.
The two-day event, which gets underway with a welcoming function the previous day, falls under the auspices of the South African Transplant Sports Association (Satsa).
This body was formed in 1994 and is a member of Sascoc, as well as the World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF).
Local organising committee chairman Willie Uys said Satsa members were those who had received solid organs and bone marrow.
“These transplanted athletes have, together with the support from family, friends and the community, set an example of endurance following many years of chronic illness and are celebrating their new life every day,” Uys said.
“The objectives of Satsa are to demonstrate the improved quality of life following transplantation through arranging involvement in sport and other physical activities.
“These include the opportunity to show recipients’ gratitude towards living donors and families of deceased donors.”
He explained that Satsa also facilitate the participation of persons from previously disadvantaged communities and promote awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation.
After Gqeberha’s successful hosting of the event in 2018, it is the second time that the Eastern Cape region of Satsa will hold the Transplant Games in the Friendly City.
It has taken place every other year since 1997 and has grown from 25 participants to over 90 at some events.
They compete in age groups ranging from five to over 80 years. One of the aims is to reach the qualifying standards to be considered for inclusion in the national team for the biennial World Transplant Games – the next being in Perth, Australia, in 2023.
Uys said there was a total entry of 77 this year, with all non-track and field events taking place on the opening day.
“This includes cycling, road running, golf, swimming, bowls, petanque, squash, table tennis, badminton, tennis, tenpin bowling and darts,” he said.
“One of the highlights is a fun walk on the beachfront from 3pm to promote awareness of organ donation and transplantation and the public are welcome to join.
“As always, the athletics on the Saturday remains the draw card and this will take place at the Madibaz Stadium.
“Everyone is invited to experience the celebration of life which all athletes display at these Games.”