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Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

Medals for people in 'second lives'

Medals for people in 'second lives'

Many of 29 Hongkongers who received donated organs won 44 medals - eight golds, 18 silver and 13 bronze - at the World Transplant Games in Australia, and their outstanding achievements proved the "miracle of life" Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said.
The biennual tournament in from April 15 to 21 in Perth brought together some 1,500 participants from 45 countries and territories.

The Hong Kong team had 29 athletes aged from 29 to 76 who have received heart, lung, liver, kidney and bone marrow transplants.

The team ranked 13th by winning medals in 34 individual and five doubles events that included petanque, lawn bowls, athletics, table tennis, badminton, bowling, golf and darts.

During a homecoming ceremony yesterday, Lo delivered a speech via video to thank donors and their families for their "selfless" contributions.

"With the donors donating organs the transplant receivers have been granted a second life," he said.

Lo also thanked the Hong Kong Transplant Sports Association, which led the delegation to the World Transplant Games, and called on people to put their names on the Department of Health's organ donation register. "I hope we can all work together to promote organ transplantations and save more lives," he said.

Among the 29 athletes, 61-year-old Ip Yuen-wah, who was in the games for a first time, won three medals - one gold in lawn bowls, a silver in petanque and a bronze in darts.

"After receiving the transplant I realized I should keep myself healthy as I was fortunate enough to have a second life," Ip said.

"That's why I started to do sports."

Ip, who received a bone marrow transplant in 2018, recalled hard hours during training, including having to struggle before she could lift a 750-gram petanque jack.

Sixty-five-year-old Chan Kwok-ping, who has participated in the games seven times since 1993, received a kidney transplant 30 years ago and won silver and bronze medals in badminton.

He hopes his participation in the games can help promote organ transplantation.

Hong Kong Transplant Sports Association president Chow Ka-foon, who was the leader of the SAR delegation in Perth, also called on people to register for donation.

She said the SAR's organ donation rate has dropped to 4.8 for every million people, and Hong Kong had only 71 donors on call.
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