World Games: city’s firefighters show their mettle

2012-11-08 00:00

THE firefighters who represented South Africa at the World Firefighter Games in Sydney are back in town, and have brought back a host of medals.

The South African team came seventh overall out of 54 countries and racked up 28 gold medals, 31 silver and 33 bronze.

Competitors from Pietermaritzburg brought back three golds, four silver and 12 bronze, team member Pro Maharaj, who took the competition’s first medal, told The Witness.

The Maritzburgers who took gold were Joy Ngcobo, Jonathan Pillay and Durwain Rajah — all in power lifting. The team spent two weeks competing in Australia.

Maharaj said the games, hosted in the venues used for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, were tough.

“It was not easy. The guys from the other countries came prepared to take medals home,” Maharaj said.

Maritzburger Brinley Brauns, a member of the volleyball team that “unfortunately didn’t do so well”, enjoyed the experience.

“It was an unforgettable experience. The games were well organised, and competing against tough, world-class athletes from other countries was a great experience,” he said.

Brauns added he would “definitely be going back” in 2014 when the games are held in Los Angeles.

Maharaj said not only did the firefighters take in the experience of competing against competitors from across the globe, they also made great friendships.

“We shared common goals and interests. Firefighters are the same through the world. Great friendships were made.”

Brauns echoed the statement: “It was good meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. We made lots of friends, guys that we might cross paths with again in the future. We also exchanged ideas which related to our real-time emergencies.”

Some of the disciplines in which the team performed well were triathlon, swimming, half-marathon, power lifting and squash.

Maharaj thanked their sponsors who had helped to fund their trip.

The team raised 90% of the money themselves.

He added they were motivated to start saving up for the 2014 games in Los Angeles.

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