– I am very happy that what we have been preparing for since 2019, we have now achieved success, as this was the first international competition opportunity for transplant recipients as a result of the covid pandemic. The medal plate speaks for itself – Judit Perente, Team Leader EB and President of the Hungarian Society of Transplantation, who was named the Disabled Athlete of the Year in 2020, gave a quick assessment.
Eight livers, four heart and lung, thirty-one kidneys and five bone marrow transplant recipients, as well as two Hungarian competitors who received artificial kidney treatment, participated in the European Championships held in Oxford with the participation of 26 countries. They measured their strength in twelve sports (table tennis, athletics, bowling, darts, bicycle, pétanque, squash, tennis, volleyball, badminton, swimming and virtual triathlon). Swimming, athletics, table tennis and bowling were the most successful sports, but pétanque also brought more gold.
Among the successful Hungarian competitors were 3 athletes from the Chsongrad – Chssanad province:
Bernat Bacci, a 44-year-old table tennis player living in Szeged, whose life was saved by a bone marrow transplant in 2012. He has been involved in sports since childhood, and table tennis has always held a special place in his life. He not only goes to training every day, but also works as a trainer. In 2019, he already participated in the World Transplantation Games, but he participated in the European Championships for Organ Transplantation and Arthritis for the first time. In the singles final of the table tennis tournament, he had a very difficult – even even – match with his Portuguese opponent, which ended in victory for Bernat, thus becoming the gold medalist.
In the men’s doubles competition, he was able to stand on top of the podium with his table tennis partner Janos Zendi, and in the mixed doubles competition with his kidney transplant partner Irma Toth, thus finishing as the three-time European Champion.
33-year-old Dávid Déri from Csánádpalota has had a liver transplant since 2005. A few years after his successful transplant, he started playing sports more seriously, first swimming and then switching to triathlon. At this European Championships, the three events of the virtual triathlon were 5km, 400m and 21km bike ride, at the end of which David finished the competition with a gold medal and European Champion.
One of the most experienced rivals of the Hungarian team lives in Szentes: László Pengő is a 70-year-old athlete who underwent a heart transplant two years ago. He has been into sports all his life, and water sports have always attracted him the most, and his love for swimming and water polo accompanied him throughout his journey. After the heart transplant operation, he gradually returned to the pool, successfully participated in local competitions several times, but was able to prove himself for the first time at the international competition for transplant recipients: he won the European age group championship in 50m backstroke, and then won silver medals in the distance freestyle. 50m, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and can stand on the third step of the podium. As a member of the 4×50-meter medley relay, they placed fifth with their teammates as the last number in the swimming competition.
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