Transplant Sport debutant Leinonen already aiming for Malaga

Tuisku-Tuulia Leinonen (vas.), Monika Bielik & Christina Demetriou

Tuisku-Tuulia Leinonen couldn’t have imagined few years back that on some day she would sit in the stands of an athletics stadium as a fresh European Championship medallist.

Her story seems to be quite typical among the participants of the European Transplant Sport Championships in Vantaa. Leinonen wasn’t a competitive person in his “previous life” before an organ transplantation, but after that the things have changed – it appears to be the magic of transplant sport.

– Before I got a kidney transplant in 2014, I was two years in dialysis. That was the time I first heard about transplant sport and that there are even international events such as this, Leinonen said.

– I had only exercised for fun, and when I participated in my first training camp for transplant athletes four months after my transplant surgery, I was afraid that all the other athletes would be top level. Fortunately that wasn’t the case. They welcomed everyone to join in, she continued.

Transplant sport is a movement with absolutely no intentions whatsoever to exclude anyone if they are willing to come. Organ transplant recipients need exercising to stay healthy and live long. Transplant sport is a great way to motivate transplant recipients to train and get healthier. That’s what Leinonen is planning to do also after the positive experience in her first European Championships 

– These people are just amazing. And on Friday I won silver from a very even 100 metre race. It made me feel so good, told Leinonen.

– My stamina isn’t so good yet that I would have dared to participate in more events that I did now. But a year from now I’ll be already in a better condition so maybe in the Malaga World Transplant Games 2017 I’ll add few more events to my program, said Leinonen who won silver medal from 100 metre run, bronze medal from shot put and gold medal from 4x100 metre relay.