Let the games begin

2013-07-27 00:00

ALTOGETHER, 1 800 participants from 50 countries will gather in Durban to compete in the 2013 World Transplant Games that start tomorrow and run for a week.

South Africa has proven to be a top-class host country for international sporting events, hosting the rugby, soccer and cricket world cups and now adding the World Transplant Games to the list.

Of the 76 South African participants, 14 are from KwaZulu-Natal. Athlete Emile Honiball, a relative of SA rugby legend Henry Honiball, received a kidney transplant in 2010 after his failed for unknown reasons. This is his first World Transplant games, and he is taking part in athletics — long jump, ball throw and the 100 m sprint.

“The doctors tried to determine what caused my kidneys to fail, but when they did a biopsy the kidneys were too small and hard.

“I feel very nervous for the games. Even though I did train and I do feel confident, I’m still nervous. I think the games are great and I really hope that puts organ donation out there, and more people become organ donors,” Honiball told Weekend Witness.

“I hope I can win some medals for South Africa, but this is my first games and even if I don’t, I will have a shot for the next games,” said Honiball.

With over 50 events, the main objective of the games is to inspire hope for recipients who already have, or need to receive an organ transplant, and create awareness to encourage people around the world to become organ donors.

Mayor James Nxumalo, pleased to have Durban associated with the games, said: “the World Transplant Games are a celebration of the human spirit, giving individuals with previously life-threatening illnesses the chance to compete in a high-level sports event and prove that they can not only lead normal, fulfilling lives, but push the boundaries of their physical endurance”.

Organisers estimate the games will accrue R50 million for the host city.

“Host countries have experienced a 30% or higher increase in organ donation rates,” said World Transplant Games Federation president Olivier Coustere.

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