by Bob Garypie
|It was another beautiful day in Sydney as competitors converged on
the International Athletics Center Sunday. Track and field events took
place throughout the day with well over a thousand spectators. All
of the officials volunteered their time and were very patient as adults
and children speaking dozens of different languages worked hard to stay
organized. This event set a new record at the spectacular facility
by hosting the youngest ever competitors here.
||Everyone waited with anticipation until
just after noon when the smallest children ran their events. While
all of the events were exciting, the children captured everyone's attention.
of the kids running was 12 -year-old Australian Hugh Buckland. Buckland's
bone marrow transplant two years ago has left him healthy, happy, and very
fit. Having won the gold in breaststroke and the silver in freestyle
he arrived at the track anticipating another winning day. Hugh wasn't disappointed
as he scored bronze medals in both the 100 metres and the long jump on
Sunday. Thinking about the whole transplant process as he looked
around the crowd, Buckland said, "I reckon that when you die you should
donate your body parts." Really pleased at the number of people that
traveled to Sydney, Hugh said he "didn't think that many people would come,
but they did. These World Games are really good." Although
Buckland's trip to Sydney from Central Coast, New South Wales, wasn't as
far as many of the athletes here, he blended into the crowd, making friends
with other kids.
||Among the spectators was Bertrand Corcuff, a 15-year-old from Quimper,
France. "It's marvelous, I love Australia," mused Corcuff as he watched
his sister compete. Corcuff's 13-year-old sister had a liver transplant
9 years ago and traveled here with Team France. Corcuff's favorite
moment from the games was watching his sister win a gold medal. "People
really must give organs more -- it is a life gift." Although
Bertrand was prepared for the number of people attending the Games, he
was "surprised at the level of competition of the Super Veterans."
|Highlighting the day at the track was Javier Les as he took home three
gold medals for Team Spain. Javier won gold in the 100,
200, and long jump. Javier's performance in the 200 was especially
thrilling as the entire crowd of over 1,000 people were on their feet cheering
him as he accelerated through the entire 200, setting a new World Games
record with an impressive 23.49. "It's worthwhile the effort the
athletes give to prove to the people that we are like everybody else,"
||Rebecca Carter, a 17- year-old liver recipient, was proud to take home
a medal for Team Australia. Having won a bronze in golf in Adelaide
last year, winning is nothing new for Carter. Carter's sentiment,
"thank you to all of the people who have donated," was the real message
from Sydney this week. Carter thought that the number of athletes
who made it to Sydney was a "bit of a surprise, actually. There are
really a lot of people." Even more resounding after a week of fierce
competition was Carter's simple statement: "I'm tired."
|Although everyone was tired, nobody felt like going home. Tears, hugs
and farewells were beginning even as the events and medals ceremonies were
taking place, knowing that the closing ceremonies and gala dinner were
ahead and tomorrow everyone would be going home.
International Athletic Centre
The International Athletic Centre at Homebush Bay is the site for the
Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the World Transplant Games. The track and
field events will be held here. The large capacity grandstand and state-of-the-art
running track are world class. The closing
ceremony will also be held at the centre at the completion of the track
and field events.
The 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, and the 4x100 relay will be timed heats
with the best 8 times advancing to the final. The 1500m will be timed heats
if necessary with the best 15 to the final. The 5 km racewalk will go straight