A YOUNG athlete has been selected to compete at the World Transplant Games next year in South Africa.
James Kirby has been picked to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Games in Durban where more than 2,500 people from around the world will take to the track and field for the five day competition.
The 18-year-old has twice had to undergo lifesaving transplants but has battled back to become an inspirational local runner and fundraiser and earlier this year he was given the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch through the streets of nearby Lewes.
Having suffered kidney failure at birth, James spent much of his childhood in and out of hospital and as youngster he was unable to join in PE lessons at school.
But, having received a kidney from his mum Lisa, James went on to compete in a host of sporting contests – scooping four medals at the British Transplant Games.
Then, in 2007, he was picked to go to his first World Transplant Games in Bangkok where he won another clutch of medals, including two golds in badminton and table tennis, a silver in tennis and a bronze in ball throw.
He had hoped to keep competing at other tournaments but due to his first transplant failing and resulting debilitating illness, he had to scale back the sport.
Now though, thanks to a second transplant two years ago, James is getting back in the saddle and impressed at the British Transplant Games back in August last year, winning a bronze in squash, silver in tennis and gold in football at what his first contest as an adult.
On the back of that success he was selected for the GB squad for next year and, according to his dad Rupert, James could not be happier.
He said, “He is very excited and looking to step up his training.
“Following his latest transplant, and after a few complications in the first year or so, James is doing very well and is now looking forward to representing his country.”