A schoolboy has won a gold medal at the World Transplant Games in Malaga, eight years after he underwent a life-saving kidney transplant.
Robert Collins, 14, of Dunstable, won a gold medal in the Badminton under 14’s singles event, a bronze in the under 18’s male doubles and another bronze in the under 14’s Table Tennis event.
He said: “It was an amazing experience, normally the British Games are during the school holidays but this was during term time. Everyone at school has been really supportive and congratulated me, it’s a nice feeling.
“I really enjoyed the opening ceremony, it was like a mini Olympic ceremony and something I have never experienced before, it was unbelievable. Winning the gold medal was an amazing achievement but the ceremony was also very special.”
Robert’s family travelled with him to the games and they were very proud of him and what he achieved.
His dad Matt said: “Robert did amazing at the games, he won gold and two bronze, he definitely deserved it.
“We are incredibly proud of him and what he has achieved, it was a fantastic experience for us all to be there and support him.
“The event was huge and it was incredible to see so many different people and the impact organ donation has on so many people.
“I think the most amazing experience for me and my wife was watching Robert carrying his flag with such pride walking with his fellow team mates in the opening ceremony.
“He’s worked so hard for it but it was also very emotional to think that but for the gift of donation the stadium would have been half empty.”
Robert added: “It’s hard to describe how special it was to have my family there supporting me, we have all been through so much and to be able to share that experience together meant a lot to me.
“My biggest support is my sister and she has always been there for me and to have her there cheering me on was a dream come true.”
The All Saints Academy pupil will be defending his UK title at the British Transplant Games later this month and hopes to compete at the next World Games in Newcastle in August 2019.
He said: “If I can remain fit and healthy I would love to represent Great Britain at home.
“I watched the Spanish senior win his title in front of a home crowd and it was electric, I would love to do the same.”
Great Britain and Northern Ireland topped the medal table at the World Games with a record 331 medals, 150 were gold.