Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Liver recipient wins big at transplant games

Naomi Smith brings home the gold

Driffield Times Post, UK

For most athletes bringing back one medal from a world championship would be reason enough to celebrate.

But College student Naomi Smith, 18, has scooped no less than seven medals in two major national and international transplant games, taking her overall medal haul to a staggering 39 in six years.

Naomi, who underwent a liver transplant as a baby, took gold in the 100m relay race while competing in the adult category (18-29) for the first time at the 18th World Transplant Games in Göteborg, Sweden.

She also brought home bronze in the cycling 5Km time trial while competing as part of the 120 strong UK transplant team.

“It was really good because it was my first year in the adult category. In the other World Games and certainly in the British Games you knew the people you were up against.

“The 100m is a highly contested competition and I didn’t think I would get anything but I was literally about a 100th of a second off getting a gold,” said Naomi.

“The 100m finish was unbelievable, my leg was in front of hers but her shoulders were in front of mine and it’s the shoulders that count,” she added.

And two weeks ago Naomi proved once again why she is at the top of her game when she took two gold medals for javelin and long jump at the British Transplant Games held in Belfast.

Naomi, of Nafferton, also won three silver medals at the British Games in the 100m race, 200m race and cycling 5K time trial.

“I have 39 medals in total from the Games. My dad has put lots of hooks up in my bedroom to hang them on but I’m running out of hooks now,” said Naomi who is now setting her sights on the next World Games in South Africa in 2013.

“Going to South Africa will be pretty amazing really. For now it will just be training and trying to get a bit fitter for that,” said Naomi who will start her fund-raising for the trip once she has completed her national diploma in sport at Hull College next year.

And once her studies are finished Naomi hopes to help others improve their fitness and lead healthier lifestyles as a personal trainer.

“I would love to help people get as fit as I am. It’s not like it’s a career where nobody needs it, there is always somebody that will need help whether to lose weight or getting healthier,” she said.

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