Firefighters attached to Working on Fire (WoF) Limpopo won gold medals and a floating trophy after amassing maximum points against their rivals, Gauteng, on the shooting range in the pistol shooting division of the recent national Azishe Games held in Gauteng.
The annual games are organised by WoF’s national office and are aimed at unearthing the hidden sport talent of firefighters. The games further encourage participation in organised sporting events thus promoting the development of sporting and coaching programmes and youth development programmes in the communities.
WoF Limpopo spokesperson Mmatema Gwangwa said they were proud of the strides made by the firefighters to win accolades at the games.
“Last year we obtained position eight and that did not sit well with us. This is a huge achievement. The team prepared well for the event this year, they showed character and we are proud of them.”
She explained that it had been difficult for them to prepare for the games because the firefighters had just returned from the fire season and their bodies were fatigued. “They knew the importance of the games and were able to improvise. We had a tough fire season but we want to commend our firefighters who went above and beyond the call of duty during fire suppression activities in various areas of the province. More than 16 000 hectares were swallowed by 151 wildfires that raged in the province. We were kept on our toes by multiple wildfires that were burning across the province at that time yet we managed to deal with all of them.”
She stressed that it was imperative for them to participate in the games to maintain their fitness levels. “Wildland firefighting requires a high level of fitness and the WoF Programme participants are characteristically very active. Many of our firefighters enthusiastically partake in a variety of sporting activities at base level, when attending annual fire safety camps and even around their local communities,” Gwangwa said before adding that they want to participate in other segments of the games such as soccer, archery, golf and tent pitching and Miss and Mr Azishe beauty pageant next year.
“The Azishe Games is an opportunity for firefighters to compete against colleagues from other provinces and showcase their talents. We want to go big next year, we want to be all over and participate in all the sporting codes and other activities. Not everyone is good at pistol shooting. We also want to give an opportunity to those who are good in soccer, archery and netball a platform to exhibit their talent on a national scale,” concluded Gwangwa.
Story: Herbert Rachuene