Dr. Maurice Slapak, a retired transplant surgeon from Britain, was the founding President of the World Transplant Games Federation from its inception with the “Transplant Olympics’ in 1978 through to 2004. The introduction of these Games was designed to visibly demonstrate the success of transplantation by showcasing these athletes were now fit and well. Dr. Slapak witnessed first hand over the years the success of the Federation in achieving an increase in organ transplants as a result of the World Transplant Games and various other initiatives of the Federation. The Games had and continues to succeed in showing the public that the Gift of Life can make these transformations possible.
Over his 26 years time in Presidency, he ensured the recognition and continuing financial support of the Federation by the International Olympic Committee including well publicized public endorsement of organ donation by President Jaques Rogge. He also saw the inclusion of bone marrow transplants in the games and the recognition and support from donor families to be involved and part of the celebrations. National Games began to grow, and many new countries started joining the Federation resulting in the benefits of sport and healthy lifestyle post transplantation spreading on a global scale. From just five countries and 99 athletes participating in the first Games, the Federation now has over 60 member countries and thousands of athletes competing every two years in the summer World Transplant Games. He remains President of the British Transplant Sports Association and has stimulated the inception of national Games in Mongolia, China and Armenia
Dr. Slapak’s vision and commitment saw the Federation become a leading contributor to the area of transplantation and organ donation. As founding President of the very successful organization, the World Transplant Games Federation thanks Dr. Slapak for his vision, determination and many contributions. Dr Slapak’s contribution is recognised every summer World Transplant Games through the awarding of the Maurice Slapak award for the mens 5km road race.
Mr. Olivier Coustere from France served as the WTGF President from 2004 until 2015, a period of 12 years. Prior to this he held the position of Executive Secretary (1995 – 2003) and a councillor (1993 – 1994). Olivier currently continues his work with the Federation as a councillor.
Olivier, who has had three kidney transplants (1982, 1994 & 2006) is also the founder of Trans-Forme, the French Transplant & Dialysis Sports Federation, and has been actively involved with them for the past 27 years.
Olivier accomplished much for the Federation during his term of Presidency. He made major contributions to the WTGF Journal, which is now an bi-annual edition and is distributed to hundreds of people, transplant sports federation and medical professionals around the world. His Presidency also saw the upgrade of communication tools with a new website, and launch of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Olivier was fundamental in implementing many administration policies such as regular council meetings, daily team managers meetings and a welcome reception at Games. Workshops covering different topics at the games were introduced by Olivier to help member countries, a needy country programme was established, and he placed much focus on increasing the number of juniors attending the games.
Olivier also placed detailed attention over this term on the medical elements, encouraging symposiums and research projects at the various Games. He implemented the need for medical and repatriation insurance for all attendees, and made major contributions to the financial stability of the Federation.
He has also been a very successful athlete at the Games winning various medals at the Summer Games for long jump, badminton, squash, swimming and track and fields events. He also participated in many Winter Games, where he achieved medals for alpine, cross-country and biathlon. Olivier has been a great advocate for participating in sport post transplant and showcasing the success of exercise and healthy lifestyle after transplantation.
Oliver, understanding the gift of receiving not only one, but three organs, has dedicated his life to promoting organ donation and transplantation. The World Transplant Games Federation thanks Olivier for his many contributions made to the Federation during his presidency.