New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) The highest-ever Indian contingent of 30 athletes is all geared up for the World Transplant Games to be held in Perth, Australia from April 15 to 21.
ORGAN India, the Organ Receiving & Giving Awareness Network (ORGAN) India, on Wednesday in a press conference revealed the names of the players, who will be representing India at the World Transplant Games.
The contingent features Karhun Nanda, Captain, India, Balveer Singh, badminton player, and World Transplant Games medallist; Dharmendra Soti, badminton player and World Transplant Games medallist, Digvijay Singh Gujral, squash player and World Transplant Games medallist.
Apart from players, the conference also had industry veterans and philanthropists among speakers including Anika Parashar, Founder Chairperson, ORGAN India; Kunti Jhaveri, Managing Trustee, Dinesh Vyas Public Charitable Trust; Ronjan Sodhi, Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee, Mentor, Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre, Priti Agarwal, Director, Geekay Winding; Dr N C Wadhwa (IAS Retd.), Director General, Manav Rachna Educational Institutions.
“I wish all the best to every athlete participating at World Transplant Games 2023, in Australia. Since I was trained in Australia and had an Australian coach, I want the entire team to totally enjoy fish and chips there as this was something I was fed before I became No.1.The team will rock and bring laurels for the country. All the best,” said Sodhi, Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Indian Double trap shooter, Mentor in Manav Rachna Sports Science Centre.
Anika Parashar, Founder Chairperson, ORGAN India was elated to share about the growth from sending 2-3 athletes to 30 athletes.
“As a country we never took pride in taking our athletes to these games, competing in them. There’s more awareness built about Paralympics, but for World Transplant games still, there is no awareness of it and whichever transplanted patients felt like they’ve got the talent to be able to compete, decided to go and they went on their own. But to be able to put the entire team together, you needed an organization. So that’s when we step in the year,” an elated Anika told IANS.
“Now we have 30 athletes, plus physiotherapists, doctors and team managers all traveling together, like with pride from other countries. Other countries sometimes have 150 athletes. We have had two or three all this time. Now, finally, we’ve given it out a nail and we’re going as a nation. So, it’s a big deal,” she added.
Meanwhile, golfer and heart transplant recipient, Karhun Nanda, who will be leading the Indian contingent at the Games, feels privileged to represent the country at the mega event and also shared a special message to the general public to spread awareness about organ donation.
“Organ transplant doesn’t end your life, in fact, it’s a new beginning and you can do all the things that you have always wanted to do in life, including sports,” Nanda told IANS on the sideline of the press conference.
“It’s so great to say 30 people are now going, you know, so the last transplant games, we stood 35th with three medals (one gold, and two silvers) and Great Britain came first with 200 golds. It’s a question of numbers, the larger the contingent, the more possibility of getting more medals. So, from 4 to 14 to now 30 and hopefully you know, 200 in the near future, it’s great,” he added.
During the event, the theme song for Team India at the World Transplant Games was also unveiled.
The World Transplant Games have objectives to promote organ donation and encourage more people across the world to register and support donation; and to help recipients improve their health and fitness around their transplanted organ.
The Games are open to those who have received, heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas, stem cells and bone marrow transplants,