JORDANSTOWN man John McAleer returned to a hero’s welcome following his courageous efforts at the European Transplant and Dialysis Games.
The 74 year old - who was the oldest member of the Irish team which travelled to Croatia - won a bronze medal in the golf competition of the games adding to the gold he won in the competition two years earlier.
John told the Times: “I was delighted to win the bronze medal.
“The conditions were every tough, it was very hot and the ground was rock hard. I was delighted that I was able to do a practice round and then compete in the competition. And to finish third was very pleasing for me.”
For over four years John received dialysis at the Belfast City Hospital Renal Unit and now receives haemo-dialysis at home.
The former university lecturer travelled with the Irish team to Zagreb and spent the week watching the games and competing.
He continued: “The games were tremendous, there was a fantastic buzz about the city everyone was so welcoming and friendly.
“There were so many people there and it was fantastic to see such a diverse range of people, young and old, out to competing. It was so refreshing.
“Some of the sports were intense.
“There was a 24km cycle and in the incredible heat it was brilliant to see people out completing it and the competition was fierce.”
He added: “There is a fantastic support network for people with conditions like me.
“All the nurses and doctors at the Renal Unit in the Belfast hospital have been fantastic to me in keeping me healthy - they really are wonderful.
“Hopefully I will be able to stay fit and healthy and I’ll be at the next games in Poland.”