Local champions claim 18 medals

QUEANBEYAN SES volunteers have done their peers proud claiming a total of 18 medals at the 12th World Firefighter's Games.

A total of 14 local volunteers attended the games and chalking up seven gold, six silver and five bronze medals. T

hey received a place across the categories of rock climbing, stair run, orienteering, ten pin bowling, paintball, deep sea and fresh water fishing, poker and badminton.

Queanbeyan SES team leader Zakia Patel said winning the medals came as a surprise as the group didn't have time to train prior to the event. 

They were just hoping to have a fun time and meet people from other emergency agencies.

"We didn't expect to win or bring back any medals. The sportsmanship there was fantastic," she said.

"Everyone is over the moon [we won so many medals], State Headquarters were just absolutely blown away."

"On the first day, our team won three medals and everyone went there to have fun but then they started to think 'let's try to win a medal as well'. It pushed us all to have a go."

The Queanbeyan SES volunteers, representing the Southern Highlands district, placed in the top eight in each of the events they entered and their groups finished fourth and eighth out of 16 teams.

Australia finished in the top spot with 438 medals, second was Hong Kong with 182 medals and third was France with 135 medals.

The World Firefighter's Games was held in Sydney from October 19 to 28.

The games included 71 sporting events and involved competitors from 30 other counties including full-time, part-time, volunteer and rural firefighters, aviation, military, paramedics, State Emergency Services, St John's Ambulance plus administrative and trade staff and direct family members.

Miss Patel described the games as having an Olympic Games-like atmosphere and said it was a great chance to meet other emergency service personnel from all over the world.

"We don't usually have the opportunity to have so many agencies come together in a social environment," she said.

"The biggest eye-opener for me is that Australia is one of the few countries that actually has an SES group, many countries don't have a SES or an equivalent. Instead, their firefighters attend to all call outs so in that aspect Australia is very lucky."

Miss Patel thanked the NSW SES Volunteer Association for covering the costs of their uniform, registration, accommodation and travel.

The team hope to have enough volunteers and raise enough money to attend the 13th World Firefighter's Games held in Los Angeles in 2014.

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