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Rickmansworth and Watford firefighters pushed to the limit in World Police and Fire Games
A pair of Rickmansworth firefighters proved they were among the best in the world after triumphing at the World Police and Fire Games.
Rob Budge and Michael Joseph from Rickmansworth fire station and Mark Harrison from Watford fire station travelled to the Titanic Slipways in Belfast to compete in the emergency services’ answer to the Olympic games.
Mr Joseph took home the bronze medal in weight lifting while Mr Budge was fifth in the world for the Ultimate Firefighter competition, making him the top placed finisher from the UK.
Mr Budge, 34, said: "It is like a mini-Olympics and the Ultimate Firefighter is the most prestigious event.
"We all competed as individuals because unfortunately they didn’t let us compete as a team which had been the original plan."
The Ultimate Firefighter - one of 56 events of the games - sees competitors take on four physical challenges similar to those they would experience in a normal day’s work.
The challenges, including body dragging, sledge-hammering and rolling out lengths of hose must all be done in full equipment and against the clock.
Mr Budge added: "I am really proud, beforehand I was thinking I would be happy to come in the top 20 but I ended up only a couple of seconds off the bronze.
"We also competed in the Toughest Firefighter Alive competition in June which I think is a lot harder and we came in the top 30.
"The training we do for these events also benefits our work, it is all very functional and very realistic.
"All the guys at Rickmansworth have been brilliant, they take us over to Garston and we regularly use Munden View and Abbey View for stairs training."
The nine-day event between August 1 and August 10 featured competitors from 67 nations, it first took place in San Jose in 1985 but this is the first time it has been played in the United Kingdom with the Belfast event dubbed "the friendliest games ever".
The closing ceremony for the biennial event featured a fly-past by the Red Arrows display team.
John Tully, chief executive of the 2013 WPFG, said the legacy of the games "will live on for years to come".
He said: "The games have been an overwhelming success.
"When we began this journey it was our goal to deliver the friendliest games ever.
"I'm very proud to say that the reality of what has been achieved has far exceeded our expectations."
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