Toti athlete shines at World Transplant Games

Sannie Liebenberg (right) with her friend Sonja Goris at a culture evening hosted at the games.

Amanzimtoti transplant athlete Sannie Liebenberg had a disappointing end to the 2017 World Transplant Games when she pulled out due to an injury, but she was chuffed to be part of the third-placed team.

She won two silvers and a bronze medal and hoped to add to her tally in Spain. Unfortunately, she suffered a pain in her right leg and had to pull out on her second lap during the power walk.

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“It was really disappointing, especially when I saw I had bettered the winning time of the games during my nationals to qualify for the games,” said Sannie.

“My first lap of 400m went fine, but halfway around the second I felt a pain in my leg.

However, it has made me more determined to win gold in England in two years’ time.

“It was amazing to see all the friends I’ve made over the years. It was an absolutely fantastic trip and our group was like a family. The opening ceremony was so good, even though we were all so tired.”

South Africa finished third after Great Britain (first) and USA (second). This was an outstanding feat, as SA only boasted 57 athletes compared to Great Britain’s 150.

Two South African women won five golds in the maximum of five events in which athletes are allowed to compete. SA’s medal tally was 35 gold, 23 silver and 18 bronze.

READ ALSO: Amanzimtoti athlete to take on World Transplant Games

“We did really well as a team to finish third out of 60 teams and I am proud to be part of it,” said Sannie. “My focus is now on qualifying for the next games at nationals, which takes place next year in Port Elizabeth.”

Sannie hopes her achievements on the sports field will create awareness on organ donation. “I hope people will speak to their families about becoming an organ donor, as it is difficult for patients to find organs and it will be so much better if more people became donors.”



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Earl Baillache

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