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The One to Watch: World Firefighter Games

Following its success in Hong Kong two years ago, the World Firefighter Games moves to Liverpool, from Sunday through to September 2. But what the blazes is it all about?

Published on August 20th 2008.

The One to Watch: World Firefighter Games

WITH more than 5,000 male and female competitors from 30 countries, contesting 73 events – like archery, boxing and cycling - it's known as the mini Olympics for firefighters, with an opening ceremony and everything.

Wow! How did we swing that one?
I'm saying nothing except that the man in charge of our great city is, yes, a fireman.

Mmm, but is anyone going to be watching, apart from other firefighters?
Well, admittedly competitors are encouraged to purchase up to four tickets each for the opening ceremony, but I bet plenty of other people would pay good money to watch super-fit firefighters working up a sweat.

Yes, and they all drink in Garlands. So, who are Team GB up against?
Australia, New Zealand and Canada all traditionally field strong teams. But the reigning “Toughest Firefighter Alive” is Brazilian Fabricio Nascimento.

Is Mr Bradley on our side?
Only in spirit. But Lib Dem councillor Eddie Clein, a member of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, is - in the table tennis competition.

No kidding! Where can we watch the action?
The Liverpool Arena is the official games village, but events are taking place across Merseyside and further afield – including equestrian at Aintree Racecourse, an assault course at Altcar training camp, shooting in Derbyshire and canoeing in Llangollen.

What about this opening ceremony? Will it rival Beijing?
Not half. The “Olympics-style” ceremony includes a Beatles band “with a difference”, and Gerry Marsden singing Ferry Cross The Mersey and You'll Never Walk Alone. As yet, we're not sure if Gerry will be there in person, or, like in the real Olympics, be replaced by someone younger and prettier.

Rex Makin, perhaps?
The Prime Minister won't be there in person, but Mr Brown has recorded a

special message congratulating the world's firefighters “on your sporting achievements and on everything that you do to keep people safe from fire around the world”.

What else?
Other entertainment includes a “sumptuous three-course dinner” followed by “an entertaining rendition from a local funny man”. Who could that be?

There are certainly plenty of jokers around here to choose from. But it's the real action I'm interested in – what other “Olympic” events we can look forward to?
You name it: Power lifting, rugby, coarse fishing, arm wrestling, poker, a treasure hunt...

Ah, they could hunt for our lost £62 million.
.... Taekwondo, chess . .

Chess? Surely it's chest pieces firemen like studying while perusing their dvd collection and waiting for the first chip pan blaze of the night?
How very dare you spread rumours about our brave yellow-helmeted boys. These people put their lives on the line for us and the attributes they need to do so form part of the ultimate event, the Blue Riband of the games, the Toughest Firefighter Alive Challenge!

Ooh! Rescuing cats from trees and children's heads from park railings. Exciting.
It's a lot tougher than that. For instance, a 21-floor stair climb wearing full breathing apparatus.

Don't tell me the lift's broken at Shiel Road flats again?
No. Scores of beefy, perspiring firefighters will hike up to the top of St John's Tower, HQ of Radio City.

Some people will do anything to get on the Pete Price Show.

Do say: What a great moment to welcome these gallant heroes to our European Capital of Culture.

Don't say: Has anyone checked the smoke alarms at the Arena?

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AnonymousAugust 20th 2008.


Fireman SamAugust 20th 2008.

I thought that Warren Bradley's specialism was 'Making Liverpool a Laughing Stock' and 'Running Liverpool into the Ground - but I suppose he's denied the championship title because of all the extra help he gets in achieving such impressive results from Mike Storey.

DigAugust 20th 2008.

Does the World Firefighting Games actually include any firefighting or are they just partaking in a few activities that they do back at the station when there are no fires to fight? True heroes indeed. I'll be cheering on our Brits in the chess and snooker and chilli cook offs.

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