Two Western Cape firefighters have been crowned South Africa’s “Toughest Firefighters Alive” following a gruelling competition at the weekend.
Miranda Fourie, 33, dazzled in the female category while Emile Conrad, 29, was the top male. Both are employed by the Eden Municipality in George.
They beat 130 contestants from across the country who battled it out during a two-day competition at the Good Hope Centre, in Cape Town, on Friday and Saturday.
They had to complete four arduous tasks, including dragging an 80kg dummy and scaling a staircase of 300 steps while wearing full fire-fighting gear. They also carried two 4.6m ladders and pulled 80m of hosepipe.
Conrad finished his tasks in seven minutes and 54 seconds while Fourie completed hers in 15min 18sec. Competitors came from Midvaal in Gauteng, eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal, Mangaung in the Free State and Buffalo City in Eastern Cape.
Fourie said she had been training for more than a year and was happy her efforts had paid off.
Said Fourie: “The women from Durban were very strong but I made it through, thanks to my training. I am going to start [ training] now for next year.”
Conrad said: “We put in a lot of hard work and it is awesome to see the results. I will definitely do it again. It is a morale booster.”
Each received a gold medal and R5000. Mark Smith, the event coordinator, said 130 competitors took part, 10 of them women. He said like the World Firefighter Games, the competition promoted firefighters’ health and fitness.
“People don’t fully understand what we do, so this is one way to educate them. Firefighting is an important career. We save lives and protect property,” he said.