Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12

Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12
I sailed the last leg (8) in 2012 - USA,Nova Scotia,Ireland,Netherlands & UK. Travelling 4,000 miles, approx 22 days at sea, with 4 races in this leg.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

World Transplant Games

Team GB in UK
Thursday 26th July
The time has arrived and I am about to embark on my 2nd World Transplant Games (2011 Sweden were the last games). It was a calm before the storm as one hour before I was about to depart to the airport with my parents, Dad said he received an email saying the flight was cancelled! I was like you are joking and then realised it was for real. I tried to get hold of Lisa who was flying out with me too. We decided to still make our way to the airport and my parents were put on an earlier flight. Except Lisa and I were left seat-less as no more seats left on the earlier plane. Needless to say we had to kick up a fuss as we needed to get to South Africa being part of Team GB! Amazingly, Lisa and I were put on a Virgin Atlantic flight and upgraded - bring it on!

Friday 27th
It was wierd travelling out to S.Africa and having to meet my parents in Johannesburg for the connecting flight to Durban. Drama's over and a long night flight with practically no sleep, we all finally arrived in Durban.
Lisa and I also registered and now it was becoming more and more real, even collecting my athlete pass and competition number to attach to my team kit.

The evening out was experiencing our first African foods and for the duration away, I tried more foods and felt a little adventurous from consuming meats (buffalo and ostrich) to all sorts of fish!

A nice meal out experiencing the South African culture. I also collect elephants, hence why this random photo of elephants I saw. I guess, I had to capture the moment ;)

Saturday 28th
Today was a free day to walk along the beach front, and I have to say that the weather was so overwhelmingly HOT! It was also lovely to experience the African culture and walk through the stalls and see all the handmade crafts.

It felt so surreal being here, and gratitude as if it wasn't for the kindness of my donor, I would not be here. I wanted to write a message in the sand, and leave my wording for other people to see until the waves washed over......

The evening was out with all of Team GB in the most amazing restaurant and watching fantastic African dancing/music. As you can see below wearing animal print to get into the feel of the night ;)

I totally loved the music and dancing, it's so energetic and vibrant. It also brought back memories as part of my degree whereby I took a module in African dance too. Will I want to start again upon returning to the UK!?

Sunday 29th
Another chilled day to relax and shop :)
Yes, here I am and here it is
This banner was up in our hotel as above and worthy of a photo shot as above.

Time for some facts about the World Transplant Games from 28th July - 3rd August with around 900 athletes across the globe. The list of countries (50) as listed below:-

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Great Britain & Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Each country had their own time table as did Team GB in terms of training days and competition days. Free time was allowed aslong as no other commitments interfered with any training prior to events. However, I did still have enough free to explore Durban. I guess, the only thing I never did was diving with sharks! I did want to do this and thought perhaps after the games on my travels I would do so. It just never happened - so another item to add to my 'To Do' list.

The evening was a pre - welcome meal (nibbles) before the main event for the Open Ceremony the following day. It was a great night to catch up with friends I made 2 years ago at my first World Games in Gothenberg, Sweden. Also, making new friends on the night too. My highlight was when a group of Iranian ladies shouted my name, Justine Justine Justineeeeeeeee and came running up to me for hugs. I competed against the Iranians in Sweden and chatted with them lots and even tried to speak their language. It is hard to remember names from 2 years ago, but I never forget faces. Maybe slightly embarrassing when everyone remembers my name and can find me easily (had brighter hair if that's possible back then).

Monday 30th
Opening Ceremony
This night was not the same as in Sweden, whereby we paraded through the streets - stopping traffic and had people hooting in their cars, people looking out of their houses, people cheering and clapping, before parading in one big arena. This was more of a subdued affair missing out the walks and being already in the arena and walking in country by country with our team/countries flag. The atmosphere for this was still electric with music, shouting and spectators cheering each country. I have included various photos below for you to see. It was nice also to great various images of people in the team kits. After all 50 countries had paraded and sat down, we were entertained with live music, dancing, and poignant speeches about the Games and what it represents.

Please listen to this song representing our Games Our Hearts are Beating which everyone in the audience sang too, it's easy to sing along and watch the You Tube video. I Love Love this tune. xx

Australia with Alice, Robyn and friends

Norway my lovely friend Yina
USA's Howard - what a star fella :)



The whole arena had around 1,800 people and I must admit it was hard not to be teary eyed (my eyes welling up) with all the going on's, and music. It was dark so I tried to hide my tears, but, I wasn't the only one. Emotions always run high and the fact that hundred's of people's lives were saved by the gift of strangers or live donor's.

Tuesday 30th
My morning started with an interview with a South African reporter for a local paper, followed by a nice stroll on the beach front.
A nice chilled day, and then dinner in a ship! Yes, a ship with sharks swimming around...just a normal day in the life of Justine ;)

Cargo Ship Restaurant with sharks inside!
A couple of other photos below - can't remember what day from - but wanted to use.

Alice and Anna

Hanging out with the dancers ;)
Please except the randonmess of the two photos above being out of sync..well, I am writing this journal like over a month later from being home.

Wednesday 31st
My first day competing in the World Transplant Games, in lawn bowls and it is nice to be able to do a sport without getting breathless. I was quite surprised how popular a sport this was, and how many countries/competitors turned up today to compete. I must admit I haven't done lawn bowls before and although there is technique and people who practice religiously like any other sport, this was all new territory to me.

I thought, I would just do my best and try and have fun with it. It was quite a hot day and I tried to stay in shaded areas where possible or go indoors when not competing.


Friendly rivalry
Some photos below showing me in action. I tried to look and act the part even though initially I was clueless, but somehow found my shots were good and I may have a chance to do well in this. I think my parents were most surprised too as they do this back home. And said for a first timer with more training onto a winning formula :)

Games over and watching the results and seeing the winners being announced.....WOW!!!!
I heard my name being called out, and I had won bronze !!! Whoop Whoop.

More photos from lawn bowls day

Winners - a proud moment
So a champion in my first event, time to freshen up and enjoy the Cultural night ahead. This night was for each country to wear clothing representing their culture and for Team GB, we all adapted the Union Jack as a theme as below.

With other team GB and my Dad on the right (not the blue face) ;)
Enjoy the photos from the night, not much needs to be said except that it was a lotta FUN!!!

with the African ladies
Check my shoes ;)

Bulgarian transplantees

Love this photo with one of the African girls
A great night had by all, and I wanted to get an early-ish night ready for my main event of badminton ladies doubles and badminton mixed doubles the following day. Good night for now.

Thursday 1st August
Smiling at the ready!!

with some of the Iranian ladies and Lisa
Photos done - time to get ready to compete with Lisa my badminton partner. The games played were very tough and the standard has improved so much from 2 years ago (at the last World Games). I think we gave it our best shot, but were defeated. It's a very tough game and I knew that I still had the mixed badminton doubles to play later on.

competing with the Japanese

Mum and Dad posing ;)

with Claudia from Switzerland and Miriam from Iran
The next set of games where the mixed doubles, which left me feeling totally exhausted and using all my puff. It was close at times playing with Alan (in mixed doubles) but sadly pipped at the post at the last minute. My face became very red I started to shake and knew I was struggling. I had to get outside for some air and slow my breathing down.

I am pleased I competed, but, do think too much now to enter in this sport - I need less strenuous sports which uses less puff. So, I gave it my all knowing I played my best and that is still GOLD for me :) x

Badminton Team

Friday 2nd
Today was an early start and my last competitions in shot put and discus.
Believe this!!! I am living proof and many others

A great day and a good opportunity for some more photos are below ;)

with Sandra and Alice

with Orla
The atmosphere was electric with each country displaying their countries flag and wearing their team kits as you walked round the athletics field. All countries sitting together and supporting whatever sport/athlete was competing in at the time. So many raised voices and probably a few lost voices by the end of the day. The athletics went on for two consecutive days, and lucky for me - mine were on the same day.

with Hilary
with Howard

with Barb and Liz
So, here we go about to start in shot put. I had 3 attempts, and my last throw was my best one. However, it wasn't a PB and all my training back home was much better, than today's outcome. I guess, one never knows on the day what will happen, nerves, weather, emotions, exhaustion - just not feeling it - reality of what can happen. But, still another sport entered, tried and I was still pleased I did. I mean I can't win everything.......hahahaha....maybe just try harder next time and get the gold's. Winning is just a bonus, being alive is the real champion, anything else just a bonus. Obviously, it is great to win medal (s), but, I wouldn't beat myself up so to speak if I didn't win as reasons already mentioned here.

I think I was still exhausted from badminton yesterday, hey ho. Here I am in action giving it what I could.

With both shot put and discus you have a couple of practice throws, and then 3 main attempts. Each turn is rotated with each girl and it is not 3 consecutive throws. The rules are very strict in each sport discipline and the judges decision is final.  I was now starting discus and thought I could be in with a chance watching the practices from other girls across the world.

However, I spoke too soon in my mind as my first two attempts were totally shameful and upsetting for all the work I have put in with my coach. I stepped forward outside the parameter instead of backwards, so my throw was a 'no throw', then my second shot ended up outside the throwing region! Argggghhhhhhhhh!!!! I was admittedly a  bit annoyed just at myself and guess on the day you just never know what will happen (as I have already said). My practice throw was so far my best one around 17 metres but only my practice throw and doesn't count for the final competition.

No pressure, it's now all in my last go, it's now or never! I couldn't bear having 3 throws as fouls after all my hard work and with my coach's assistance over the year. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, and  now it wasn't about a medal - just getting a throw in!!!!!

Here I go!!

YES!!!! It was in, and no foul!! Yay!!! But, was it a winning throw? Only time would tell when all the results were tallied in and names called out for the awards later on. So, deep breathe as a sigh of relief and time to eat and just enjoy/watch other athletes in their sports.

Every person you meet at these games have their own story and even the donor families who attend too. But, nothing can prepare your emotions seeing children's lives transformed by a life saving transplants too. Seeing the young kids run 50 metres and have their parents at the finish line ready to pick them up and swirl them in the air

Everyone is affected from transplantation from babies needing life saving organs to adults. It is not the age of a person donating, but the condition of organ's. With this in mind even people in their 70's for example can be donors and save lives. It is about getting a match from blood group, tissue type and many other contributing factors. Being in Durban for this week was so inspirational and joy for those embracing their second chance on life.

Award ceremony time
Collecting my bronze award

Just a tad happy ;)

I was so happy to achieve a bronze medal in this, and delighted after all the drama I actually got some bling!

Thanks to Essex Boot Camp my sponsors

Closing ceremony tonight and time to say farewell and celebrate the gift of life with everyone. Buffet foods and dancing, stage shows and more dancing. It is also common to exchange team kit on the last day, and I acquired quite a few new additions to my wardrobe. Lucky me ;)

With Lisa and Sophie
It was a great night and left me smiling from ear to ear (if that's possible). I think I strolled into bed about 2am and proceeded to catch some flies in my sleep. Exhaustion finally catching up with me. That's it, and tomorrow my last day seeing the sights before flying into Port Elizabeth to begin part two of my trip! I was able to travel after and see many places in South Africa travelling along the garden route ending up in Cape Town. My journal is more about the Transplant Games, but, the holiday was so fantastic and many memories also I will never forget and treasure. Over 2,500 photos were taken from my time away and the holiday ones I will eventually share the 'best of' on Facebook.

So...fast forward my travels and the reality returning home with two gorgeous bronze medals as below.

Upon returning the local press were interested in updates and I found myself back in the BBC Essex Radio Studios, The Essex Chronicle Newspaper, East Anglian Daily Times and The Chelmsford Weekly News again who covered my story also prior to departure.
Thanks to Chris Rushton Essex Chronicle photographer for photo
I will leave you all with this photo image but with me looking down into the sand. Deep breath and breathe some more........... Are you a donor?
Please click here How to Become A Donor Thanks x
This says it all. Much Love to you xxx
Well, that's a wrap as they say. What's next?? See this year through, stay well and roll on 2014 with new and exciting challenges. So, watch this space. From my first half marathon to a major event covering also 13 miles with 150 obstacles (Rat Race). Continuing with my book - my life story..and much more :) xx