Podium finish at world games

Published 6:00am 21 May 2023

Podium finish at world games
Words by Nick Crockford

Burpengary’s Paul Beard brought home one medal from the World Transplant Games in Perth – and was a fraction away from a second.

The 62-year-old, who had double lung and triple bypass surgery six years ago, won bronze in the 50m breaststroke at HBF Stadium.

Gold went to the remarkable Netherlands’ swimmer Peter van Maurik, who won by a huge margin, with Australia’s Greg Beythien second.

In a close race, Mr Beard was beaten into fourth place by just 0.21 of a second in the freestyle.

Paul Beard, right, congratulates gold medallist Peter van Maurik, of The Netherlands

But he helped Australia finish second on the 46-nation games medal tally – pipped for top spot by Great Britain and Northern Ireland which had one more gold medal!

Now back home, Mr Beard described the World Transplant Games as a “great experience, great to represent Australia and spread the word of organ donation.

“The next world games are in Dresden (in 2025). I will need to start training now to beat those Netherlands swimmers!”

That trip to Germany would come nine years after Mr Beard was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a rare and incurable lung disease which affects the tissue around air sacs.

Paul Beard, centre back row, with the Australian transplant games team in Perth.

The following year, he had a double lung transplant and triple bypass surgery at Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, which changed his life.

Since his transplant Mr Beard has supported research into lung disease, raising funds in the Tour de Brisbane cycling event last year.

The World Transplant Games is a week of sport and celebration for those who have received a life-saving transplant, such as heart, liver, lung, kidney, pancreas and bone marrow.

It promotes the message transplantation saves lives – and every Australian can leave a legacy by registering as an organ and tissue donor.

To register as donor click here

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