John (81) gears up for World Transplant Games

John McAleer.
John McAleer.

Kidney transplant recipient John McAleer (81) from Jordanstown is preparing for next month’s World Transplant Games in Newcastle, England.

The retired Ulster University lecturer and Department Head lives with his wife Brigid.

This will the be John’s second time to compete at a World Transplant Games event having participated at the biennial World Games in 2017 when they were held in Malaga.

John’s first time to wear a transplant team jersey was in 2010 as a dialysis patient when the European Transplant and Dialysis Championships were held in Dublin and then two years later he competed at the biennial games held in Croatia in 2012.

The following year while out on a golf course, he was called to City Hospital in Belfast for his life changing kidney transplant. At last year’s European Transplant and Dialysis Championships held in Cagliari, Italy he won a silver medal for golf and a bronze for petanque as well as receiving special recognition at the closing ceremony for being the oldest participant at the games.

The father and grandfather said he hopes there will be enough people to make up an 80+ category at the World Games next month as otherwise he will be competing “with the youngsters” in the 70+ category in his events, petanque and golf.

John who is looking forward to taking part in the Games in Gateshead and honouring his donor commented: “Participation is a great way to keep a routine focus on fitness and wellbeing, having a goal makes it easier to get going when it is raining and the wind is blowing.

“I have never been to Gateshead and that will be a nice new experience. There has been a lot of urban renewal in this area and it will be interesting to see. Spending time with the team is always a joy.”

The games take place from August 17 to August 24.