City to welcome inspirational athletes
Posted on Monday 18th September 2017
Newport has officially been announced as the host city for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2019.
The event is expected to attract more than 850 transplant recipient athletes and more than 1,500 supporters, including donor families, to the city in the summer of 2019.
Organised on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport UK, the aim of the Games is to raise awareness of and increase organ donation. Title sponsor Westfield Health, a leading not-for-profit health insurer, has been involved in the Games for more than a decade.
Newport Council, Newport Live, Welsh Government and the Games organisers will work in partnership to make this the best event yet.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “We are honoured to have been selected to host this prestigious event. Newport has an excellent record of hosting sporting events from the Ryder Cup, Velothon, track cycling championships to Olympic and Paralympic training camps – but this event will be something special for the city.
“These athletes are inspirational and the Games bring with it such an important message. Wales has led the way in the UK in its approach to organ donation, but there is much more to do to raise awareness of its importance and encourage commitment across the country.
“We hope as a city we can not only deliver spectacular Games but do justice to this worthy cause.”
Held over four days, the Westfield Health British Transplant Games include over 25 sporting and social events and competitions for all abilities, from fishing through to track and field, including the Donor Run, an inclusive event open to the public.
The Games will complement campaigns taking place at a local level to educate and raise awareness of organ donation and the importance of sharing your decision with your loved ones.
Dr Paul Harden, Chairman of Transplant Sport UK, said: “We are delighted to be taking the Transplant Games to Wales. We have seen the Games grow from strength to strength and we are sure Newport will be able to follow on from the success of North Lanarkshire this year and Birmingham in 2018.
“2019 is also an important year for us as the World Transplant Games comes to the UK, raising the important message of having the donation conversation with your family on an international level.”
Steve Ward, Chief Executive of Newport Live, added: “We are delighted to work with Newport City Council, Welsh Government and Transplant Sport UK to host these amazing people with amazing journeys for four days of sporting competition and personal achievement.
“We look forward to using our great facilities to inspire the athletes to be their best and I’m sure the event will inspire local people to join in the fun and see what you can achieve when you believe in yourself.”
Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething said: “Congratulations to Newport in securing the Westfield Health British Transplant Games with a very strong bid.
“The Games are a celebration. These athletes are able to compete because of the kindness of countless donors and their families who have given the gift of life.
“It will also help get people talking about their organ donation decision. A quick chat can help benefit the people of Wales and the UK. If your family know your decision and honour it, it could reduce the number of people dying whilst waiting for a suitable organ to become available, and transform the lives of others.
“We wish everyone involved a successful Games.”
The British Transplant Games is the flagship event of Transplant Sport. Developed by the Transplant Surgeon Maurice Slapack in 1978, the Games were originally an international event welcoming teams from France, Greece and even the USA.
Today the British Transplant Games see over 50 teams from hospitals across the UK (and still have overseas visitors) come together to share their personal experiences, compete and thank their donor families, who increasingly form part of the Games.
The British Games are also a channel for selection to the bi-annual World Transplant Games, in which Team GB are amongst the largest and most successful.
Further information about the 2019 Games will be available shortly. For more information about previous Transplant Games visit www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk