So a week has gone by since I competed at the World Transplant Games, and now I’m starting to feel a little bit more myself and less like a bus has run me over, I thought it would be good to reflect on the Games, and my performances on a whole.
Let’s start with the positives!
Four golds and two silvers is a pretty good haul, considering I competed in seven events, of which I only actually train for two of. I really enjoyed competing in the 100m and 4 x 100m (the two said events I train for); the 200m and 4 x 400m were always going to be tough considering I haven’t run either distance since the last World Games; the shot put would have been far more enjoyable if there weren’t 20 women in the competition, and it wasn’t right before the 100m; and competing in the long and high jump taught me that if I actually trained (or even practiced) for these events, I might actually be ok at them!
It was great to be surrounded by some brilliant GB athletes at the Games, including the fab relay ladies – Michelle Mitchell, Emma Hilton and Tracy Baker in the 4 x 100m, and Melissa Fehr, Marie Devine and Emma Hilton in the 4 x 400m.
My overriding feeling throughout the athletics, however, is how disappointing it was to be competing in what is supposed to be the epitome of global transplant sport, and how disorganised the competition was! The athletics started almost two hours behind schedule on the first day, leading to no one really knowing when they should be competing, or when they should be warming up. It probably didn’t help that the timetable hadn’t been finalised until 11pm the night before, but the fact the stadium wasn’t ready on time was pretty inexcusable. Results weren’t printed out, athletes had no idea whether they had made finals, and the athlete officials had clearly never started any level of competition higher than a school sports day. If we are to raise our profile within global sport, the first thing needed is to run the events correctly!
To reflect on my performances considering all the above, it wasn’t actually that bad. 12.8 in the 100m is pretty much what I’ve been running all season, and actually took almost a second off my own Championship Record (which I think are commonly known as World Records, but surely in the world of sport, World Records can be set at any time in or out of the World Games??); and 27.8 is acceptable in the 200m, but I can’t deny that running 3.5 seconds slower than my pre-transplant PB is pretty soul destroying. I’m determined to spend more time on my high jump and long jump these next couple of years, but I still have some unfinished business in the long jump, and with only one legal ‘safety’ jump in Malaga actually counting towards my silver medal, I’m already planning to enter an open competition in a few weeks to see a more true reflection of my (granted, completely untrained) long jumping is!
I do have to start considering how sustainable entering the World Games is, going forwards. For someone who only competes in athletics, I am able to compete week in, week out at competitions all round the UK or even just in South Wales if I so choose, for around £5 per event, and if competing for my club, for free. My races will be electronically timed, I’ll have a strong level of competition, and I know that the most behind schedule these competitions are going to run is about 20 minutes, and that’s on a pretty bad day. The cost of entering the Games in Malaga, as well as flights, food and accommodation was over £2000 for both Gareth and myself to be there, and although supported by sponsors and my ever-generous mother, it was still an expensive trip.
In 2019, we’ll be having a home Games at Newcastle and Gateshead. When the British Games were held in Newcastle, it cost me around £130 for me to compete, and included a supporter’s pack for my husband, and two tickets to a gala dinner, so I’d be really disappointed if the costs were anywhere near the thousands of pounds required to compete in Spain…we shall see!!