Are you signed up to take part in your first ever Westfield Health British Transplant Games? If so, you might be wondering what to expect.
We caught up with Lewis Evans who will be representing Wales for our beginner’s guide.
Four years ago, Lewis was suddenly diagnosed with end stage kidney failure.He underwent dialysis for 18 months and then received a kidney from his mother.
Tell us about your competitions so far…
I first competed as a transplanted athlete in the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in North Lanarkshire 2017. It was six months after my kidney transplant and I won silver.
I competed at the European Transplant Games in 2018 and won gold in 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay & discus, silver in shot put and bronze in javelin.
And I went to my second British Games in Birmingham in 2018 where I won two golds (100m, 200m & the Cup for the fastest 100m), two silvers (javelin and shot put) and two bronze medals (4x100m relay and 4x50 swim relay).
How do you get organised for the Games?
Usually I try and make a list of what I need to take with me but my medicines are the first thing I pack when going anywhere!
Then I make sure that I have all the things I need for my events - spikes, shorts, warm up gear - especially if it's likely to be cold!
Obviously, training is a massive preparation for me for the Games! I train up at Cardiff’s National Indoor Athletics Centre with a great team. I am lucky to have a variety of events that are run by Welsh Athletics to help me get competition ready. Running against non-transplanted athletes helps to push me to be stronger and faster so when it comes to the British Transplant Games, I am in the best form possible.
How early do you arrive for the events?
When there are so many events taking place over the four days, it can get confusing so I try and plan the night before. I make sure I arrive early enough at my events to warm up properly.
I also try and add in time for me to see the physio even if it's for a quick rub down before the next event. The last thing I want is an injury. I also take into account if I have several races or heats on. In athletics, delays are inevitable so some plans can go out the window in the first hour, but I try and adapt to the day as best as I can.
Apart from competing, what else do you enjoy about the Games?
The company and the social events are a blast! I have met such great friends since my first Games in 2017. Sometimes I would rather just spend the time relaxing and socialising, but then it’s a whole lot better celebrating at the closing ceremony with a few medals to show off with!
What tips would your friends and families pass on to other supporters?
Everyone at the Games supports each other, no matter if they are in the same team or not. It’s lovely to see everyone cheering each other on.
You must be feeling excited that the Games is taking place in Wales?
Yeah! It's great to have the games in Newport this year. It's not been in Wales for a while now and I feel like we will provide all the participants and supporters with a big Welsh welcome!
Whether you are chasing a personal best, vying for a spot on the podium or coming along to celebrate life and your own goals, the Westfield Health British Transplant Games has something for everyone.
The event is supported by Westfield Health, Welsh Government, Newport City Council, Newport Live and the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, and Donor Family Network. Local supporters include Celtic Manor, Rodney Parade, Icon Creative
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
There is still time to join a team. Please contact The Welsh Transplant Team on 07866 810401 or Shaun.Thomas2@wales.nhs.uk. If you would like to represent a hospital outside of Wales, please contact your hospital coordinator.
You can find out more about The Westfield Health British Transplant Games here https://www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk/