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Australia's Gold Coast to host 2009 World Transplant Games

25 September, 2006

Australia's Gold Coast has again proven to be unbeatable - this time winning the international race to host the 2009 World Transplant Games, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has announced.

"This is an exciting win for the Gold Coast and for Queensland," Beattie said.

"The World Transplant Games attracts up to 4,000 participants from more than 50 countries. It is estimated the 2009 Games will contribute approximately 40,000 bed nights for Gold Coast hotels, with the majority of attendees expected to come from interstate or overseas.

"This represents a tremendous boost for our State's tourism economy. The Games will also be a smart way to raise the profile of the Gold Coast as an international sporting destination."

Transplant Australia CEO Mark Cocks said the Gold Coast impressed the international games committee because of its proven track record of hosting large multi-sport events such as the biennial Pan Pacific Masters' Games.

"We knew the Gold Coast was the ideal venue for this event - the accommodation, sporting and recreational venues, fantastic weather and friendly locals made it an unbeatable competitor in the bid race," Cocks said.

"Every competitor has undergone the life-altering experience of receiving an organ or bone marrow transplant prior to participating in the games, and entrants range in age from three to 75-years-old.

"Apart from the obvious economic benefit to the host destination, we have a history from our national events that shows that donor interest spikes considerably during the games. We therefore expect the world games to generate a significant response to the worthy cause behind the games, with a direct flow-on to the health arena.

"As an example, an additional 15 kidney donors result from the increased awareness generated by the annual national games. With one patient on dialysis costing in the vicinity of $50,000 a year, these savings alone can add up to some $1.5 million a year.

Beattie said the inspiring stories behind the World Transplant Games would not go unnoticed by Queenslanders.

"The brave spirit and determination of the competitors are inspirational, and the games help raise awareness of the important need for organ and tissue donation - a subject high on the State's agenda," Beattie said.

"My Government has two aircrafts whose first-use call is for this life-giving work.

"I look forward to welcoming all participants to the Games in 2009 and I wish our Queensland and Australian competitors well in their chosen events."

The first World Transplant Games was held in Portsmouth England in 1978 with a core of 12 sports including track and field, swimming, tennis, ten pin bowling, cycling, badminton, lawn bowls, rowing, table tennis, volleyball, golf and squash.

Entrants compete in up to five sports.

The event was secured for the Gold Coast by Transplant Australia with the support of the Queensland Government through Queensland Events, and the Gold Coast City Council.

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