It means swimming pool but if you didn't know that, you might
think the nondescript building in the trees on Margaret Island
in Budapest was just about anything else. Once inside, ice
cream, sporting goods and doughnut vendors dot the sides of
the enormous entrance hall. Big signs on the left and right
side of the room read Ferfi and Noi. Again, to tourists like
me, it might mean anything if I didn't know that it was the
men's and women's entrances to the facility. Once through
the arched entrance (on the Ferfi side of course) a turnstyle
is guarded by a tired woman in a simple white dress. She collects
admission charges and then a series of shower, sauna and locker
areas through a maze of poorly lit cavernous rooms eventually
leads to the swimming pools.
Several indoor pools are filled with kids constantly screaming
to nodding adults in unintelligable Hungarian. Probably something
like "watch me, Mom!" The exit to the outdoors reveals sunlight
and cheers in dozens of languages. I've done it. I found the
XII World Transplant Games swimming venue.
Colleen Horan of Team USA is gently nudging to Gary Green
of NKF, WTGF and TransWeb fame to look at a member of her
team doing something. So it goes. The managers are concerned
with the athletes, the photographers are concerned with the
shots, and the athletes are concerned with the water, the
times and the speed of the recipients in adjoining lanes.
The 50 meter olympic pool is surrounded by spectator stands
and other buildings. More outdoor pools are visible and in
use in several direction. Twelve-year-old Hungarians are being
taught platform diving by young adults in the pool adjacent
to the Games pool. One highlight of the day was Ray Velasco's
performance in the 100 freestyle. Ray, a Team USA member from
California, had a terrific day. Having set the World Games
100 free record at 1:05.04 in Sydney, he broke it with a 1:04.45
in the preliminary 100 free today. Then in the final, he broke
his own record again with a performance of 1:04.0. Ray also
holds the transplant games world record in the 50 meter butterfly.
Velasco took two golds today and a silver in the medley relay.
Swimming is one of the biggest events in these games and
it will continue tomorrow. See you there.
|The chess competition was held in
a third floor conference room in the hotel Rubin on the Buda
side of the Danube. The room was set with ten tables each containing
a chessboard and time clock. The USSR clocks kept track of the
time each player spent executing the movement of their own pieces.
|Each player has 16 pieces in white
or black. The object of the game is capture the opponent's king.
When the king is threatened a warning is issued by saying "Check"
and when the king is captured the game is over and the final
statement of "Checkmate" (English) is issued. The international
crowd was represented by players from Great Britain, Australia,
Hungary, France, Argentina, Uraguay, Italy and they end their
chess games by saying jaque mate (Spanish, pronouced
"hock-ay-mah-tay"), sakk matt (Hungarian, pronouced
"shock mott"), echec et matt (French, pronounced
"eysheck ay mott"), schach matt (German, pronouced
"shock mott") and scacco matto (Italian, pronounced
|In contrast to most of the competitions held here in Budapest
the mood was somber. The crowd silently watched as the simultaneous
chess games unfolded. The only sounds that broke the silence
were the ticking of the time clocks, the snap of the buttons
on the top of the clocks as each player completed a move and
the ever-feared "check" and "checkmate."
|The focused intensity and quiet concentration was quite evident
when scanning the facial expressions of competitors in the room.
The tournament was set up into seven rounds. Each contestant
played seven rounds and the overall combined score determined
the final placement.
Preparing for the chess competition may not have required
intense physical workouts or fast mobility but was not for
the faint of heart. Each player struggled to simultaneously
protect their own king, mount an offensive attack on the opponent's
king and complete all moves of the game within the allotted
20 minutes. Regardless of the progress on the board the game
was ended early when the play clock reached twenty minutes.
The intense mental workout was a stimulating tribute to vibrant
and successful recovery after transplantation.