Category: Games

New Zealand wins Rugby 7s & Garda take women’s title at WPFG Belfast

By Volunteer Rebecca McConnell
After two days Rugby 7s
action at Queens Sport (DUB), it was time for finals day to determine the 2013
WPFG men from the boys, and women from the girls.
All the matches took place on
the Arena, meaning the spectators could enjoy the match whatever the weather
under the roof.
It started off dry and warm as the semi finals took to the
pitch. After some tight matches and many tackles on pitch, North Vancouver and
Welsh Fire made it into the Division 2 final whilst Garda and PSNI won their
respective semis in the over 35s league. The Garda’s secret weapon were their
wacky socks as each member of the team sported colourful and unusual socks.
According to their coach “It’s to make old men feel, young!” A bit harsh when
the team is only over 35s!
There was drama during the
first women’s semi as the Ambulance needed to come on pitch to assist a
Canadian (East) player who took a bad fall during a tackle against the Garda
team. As well as St. John’s Ambulance volunteers coming to her rescue, the
Italians sent a member of their support team, an orthopaedic surgeon to have a
look too. Because of losing a player, the Canadian East didn’t have enough
people to continue the match, so the Garda won the semi. In the second semi,
team USA lost to Canada West. Later the officials decided to play what should
have been a Bronze medal match as a friendly.
Team USA took the bronze and Garda went on
to beat Canada West 33 points to nil. To say they were ecstatic to win gold
would be an understatement! They were loving it and even had the champagne
ready to celebrate on pitch.
Team USA had a PSNI officer
helping them out and she was delighted to go home with a medal.
“I wasn’t even entered two weeks ago so this is just amazing to have a bronze
medal at my home Games. I definitely want to take part in the next ones in
2015.”
The male Garda team also had
success beating local team PSNI in the over 35s final 41-5 to take another gold
medal with them across the border. Welsh Fire won division 2 title beating
North Vancouver Fire 38 points to 10.
In the men’s division 1
final, it was a close encounter between New Zealand Fire and HM Police Service.
NZ won the first try and despite taking a 17-0 lead at half time, their coach
still shouted ‘dominate’ to spur them on. They had won gold in New York Games
in 2011 so were keen to defend their title. In the end, despite resurgence from
the British Police team, New Zealand defended their title winning 17-14. Once
again, they showed their dominance and strength by performing the Haka to the
packed crowds at the DUB.
Logan Martin, captain of the
New Zealand Fire team, “Man we’re thrilled! We lost twice on the first day here
so it was good to come back and then peak at the right time. It was well worth
the trip to Belfast! It was awesome!”
Awesome was a word I heard a
lot this week. It was the word a Californian used to describe her pre-Games
tour of Ireland, even in the rain, and it was the word I would use to describe
the spirit of the Games. As a fellow volunteer said to me this morning, “It’s
not just the competitiveness the games are played in that is so impressive, it
is the spirit. It is simply fantastic. In terms of the rugby, it is a fraternal
brotherhood across the world and it shows in the WPFG too.”
As I left Queen’s Sport, a
little saddened that it was my last shift with #wpfgsocialteam, the
celebrations for many of the teams had just begun at the bar inside. On driving
out of the car park, a guy in a Paris Fire shirt waved to me, he was looking a
lift back to his team’s hotel, because his legs were tired and sore. ‘Please,’
he pleaded. Naturally as a volunteer in the ‘friendliest games ever’, I obliged
resulting in me leaving not one, nor two, but three Italian fire men back to
the Ramada Hotel! They had all swapped shirts with each other during the Games,
hence the Paris Fire top. Unfortunately my iPhone’s battery was flat otherwise
that would have been a picture to treasure from the Games.
Failing that, I will
just have to remember the parting words from the guy in the back who when
getting out of my Seat Ibiza said, “Thanks, Rebecca. You’re perfect!” A
wonderful and unexpected finish to a brilliant and thrilling few days of
volunteering!

Ice hockey is, by far, my favourite sport EVER!

By Volunteer Nicci Gregg
On Friday night I made a new discovery about myself.  Ice hockey is, by far, my favourite sport EVER.  I am
ashamed to admit this but this was my first ever ice hockey experience, and what a first it was.
I arrived at the Odyssey Arena to watch the bronze and gold medal games for the +35 division.  As I entered the arena the competitors for the first match (bronze medal) were warming up , Canada RCMP were about to take on St Petersburg Dynamo.
As a newbie to the ice hockey scene I was a little clueless and no one told me that it may not be a good idea
to sit directly behind the goal net area.
As the Canadian team took turns to practice shots, the ones which missed
the net came flying towards me and crashed into the screen in front of me
making my heart stop a few times.  It was after this that I knew I was in for a good night.
After a swift move of seat I settled in to enjoy the game.  One of my favourite things about this event was the atmosphere, the arena was filling up with adoring ice hockey fans (over 4,000 attended, with some 50,000 spectators for the tournament as a whole!), music was blasting and everyone was in
great spirits, then the match began.  Ice hockey is made up of three periods per match, each lasting 20 minutes.
My first impression was, wow this is fast.  I literally could not take my eyes away for fear of missing something.  There was a goal attempt every minute from both sides.  St Petersburg were the first to score at just 17 seconds into the match which was followed by their second goal just minutes
later.  Canada came back fighting as they scored their first goal and quickly gained a lot more possession enabling them to eventually even the score to 2-2.
However, just 16 seconds later St Petersburg took back the lead scoring their third goal making the score at the end of the first period 3-2 to St Petersburg.
After a two minute break it was straight into the second period which was a little slower with Canada
scoring their third goal with 1.29 minutes left, evening the score to 3-3. This must have put some fire in their belly as they scored another two goals in the last minute of this period, bringing the score to 5-3 to Canada.
Going into the third period St Petersburg got their second wind and scored their forth and fifth goals,
putting the score at 6-5 to Canada.  With their competitors hot on the heels, Canada came back fighting with a memorable goal in the last 20 seconds of the match making them the bronze medal winners
with a score of 7-6.  The growing crowd cheered as the Canadian team collected their bronze medals.
Now for the match everyone was waiting for, the gold medal game.
Russian Home Affairs Ministry were taking on the Helskini Fire Department.  At this stage the crowd had
doubled and so had the atmosphere. The teams were brought onto the ice with music, disco lights and roaring fans.
The first period got off to another quick start with Russia scoring their first goal within 10 seconds,
holding possession they scored another three goals ending the first period in the lead 4-0.  It was very clear at this point that the Russian team meant business.
I was so impressed by the skill and speed of both these teams, the skating was excellent to watch and both teams had a great competitive spirit about them which made the match unmissable.
Into the second period Helsinki put up a great fight but were unable to stop Russia from scoring a
further two goals.  The shots from Russia were so powerful, lots of praise must go out to the Helskini goal keeper who stopped plenty of them, as well as the amazing defence.
The third and final period was excellent.  In true Northern Irish
fashion, the local Belfast crowd were fully behind the underdogs from Helskini, chanting their names and cheering them on every step of the way and when the team scored their first goal (bringing the score to 6-1) the crowd gave the biggest roar of the night so far.  The unstoppable Russian team continued on to score two more goals ending the period with a final score of 8-1.  Russia were victorious gold medal winners.
As i work for the ice hockey event sponsors Coca-Cola I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to
present the silver medals to the Helsinki team who all gave me some lovely hugs
and friendly greets and i handed them their medals on the ice one by one.  Russia followed, picking up their well deserved gold medals.
I was amazed by everything at the ice hockey event.  The skill, the
speed, the referees who jumped over the puck every two seconds, the atmosphere, the crowd, the cold…everything.  This sport most certainly has a new super fan in me.
This is my last blog for the 2013 WPFG and It was been a great experience, I have met so many lovely people and so many talented competitors.  Until next time.

Final day of Toughest Competitor Alive

By Volunteer Nicci Gregg
Thursday was the third and
final day of the Toughest Competitor Alive (TCA) event and the turn of the
mixed doubles and 4-person teams to show off their various talents and skills
in eight different stages of the event which are as follows:
5k Run
100m Sprint
Shotput
100m Swim
Rope Climb
Bench Press
Pull Ups
Obstacle Course
With so many different phases
to this event the athletes taking part certainly need to be the totally package
with exceptionally diverse physical skills.
If you missed the other days
for the TCA event, check out Kat’s blog which sets the
scene for the first day where she saw the women and 50+ Men compete for the
highly sought after TCA title.
The day started with the
first three disciples of the event (5k run, 100m sprint and shot put) taking
place at the Bangor Sports Complex.  The
competitors then travelled by bus to the Bangor Aurora Centre to begin their
swimming challenge which is where i joined the festivities.
As I arrived at the Aurora I
settled in to watch the competitors doing their warm up for the 100m freestyle
swim race.  I sat amongst the competitors
friends, family and supporters and got talking to the brother of a member of
Team Spain who told me that his “brother has trained seven days a week for
a whole year for this competition and is going for the gold”.  This Spanish determination became even more
clear when the race kicked off as i watched three members of Team Spain win all
three phases of the swimming challenge, with Sweden following closely behind.
The spectator area at the
Aurora was filled with smiling faces from all over the world and encouraging
cheers in all sorts of languages, but when local man Roy Allen stepped up to
represent Team Northern Ireland the pool filled with cheers and few ‘Keep er
lit’ chants came his way.
The fastest time in the
swimming came from Fernando Felipe of Spain with a time of 1:08:80.
After the swimming
competitors, volunteers and spectators all made their way to the sports hall,
also within the Aurora complex to watch the rope climb, bench press and pull
ups, with the weight lifting competition for the WPFG also taking place in the
same hall the atmosphere was electric, not to mention loud.
First up was the rope climb
challenge.  Competitors had to climb a
20ft rope which had a disk at the top covered in black soot, the officials
check the competitors hands after the climb for black marks to ensure they
touched the disk, the fastest time wins.
All competitors took turns on two ropes, cheering each other on when it
was not their turn. I watched closely and once again noticed it may be a close
call between Spain and Sweden.  There was
only one female who attempted the rope climb, and I must say, she put the boys
to shame, you can watch my video by clicking here.
On to the bench press and
pulls up section of the day.  Competitors
took turns at lifting a weight which they had previously set for themselves and
for pull ups they had do as many as they could with their chin touching the top
bar each time.  Once again, Sweden stood
out to me here with Max Norwood showing off his determination and recieving
endless cheers from the whole crowd.  Local man Steven Morrison completed a total
of 29 pull ups and once again got the biggest cheer of the day.
At 2pm, the athletes,
volunteers and spectators made their way back to the Bangor Sports Complex with
the final challenge of the day ahead, the obstacle course.  Back at the BSC the spanish team entertained
everyone as they had brought their own portable iPod player and played
traditional spanish music while they did their warm up, this of course put
everyone in a fantastic mood, the sun shinning down on the field didn’t hurt
either.
The obstacle course consisted
of, monkey bars, tyre steps, wall jumps, net runs and many other things (these
are not the official terms, but its how I can be describe it).  The course had a gladiator style about and
believe me, these athletes certainly are like gladiators.
One by one the competitors
took to the final stage of their busy day for their last chance to be named the
‘Toughest Competitor Alive’. Here are the results.
My next and final event will
be the Ice Hockey on Friday night, stay tuned for my final blog.

Gold for Aurora

Gold for Aurora Police Department in the men’s softball!

gold-police

Our Volunteers

Did you see what our volunteers did? Absolutely loving it !

volunteers

Batman at games

oes Batman qualify for the World Police & Fire Games?! Seen at Queen’s Sport Upper Malone

batman

Day 9 Video

Final day of Ultimate Firefighter

By Volunteer Zoe Cunningham
Given the buzzing carnival
atmosphere more often seen on the streets of Rio, the sun shining high in the
sky and the exuberant cheers of the Brazilian team as they were awarded the
first gold medals of the day, you could be forgiven for thinking you were anywhere
but Belfast.  But yesterday us Norn Irish
folk held our heads high as we welcomed the world to the third and final day of
Ultimate Firefighter at the iconic Titanic Slipways.
Once again the crowds flocked
from near and far to soak up the atmosphere at this thrilling event, which on the final day took the form of four different stages, performed by four different team
members.
The morning saw competitors
complete stages 1 and 4, the hose task and high rise task and the afternoon
session included the stage 2 weight and strength task and stage 3 obstacle
course.
Once again these amazing
athletes showed off the everyday skills they need to be firefighters to
perfection and much to the delight of the assembled crowds, the competition was
fierce.  It was split into age categories
and while many teams were from particular countries or stations, there were
also a number of teams made up of individuals including the Barbarians team of
Irish, English and Americans who ended up taking gold in the over 45’s
category.  Gold medals also went to the
Brazilians, who I’ve heard were in training for the games for the past six
months and a team from the Czech Republic.
A talented team from Ireland were awarded silver in the U35’s category,
cue rapturous applause from the huge crowd that had gathered for the medals
ceremony.
As the competition drew to a
close I met Danny Ard, Crew Commander for Blue Watch at Central Fire Station in
Belfast, who was a great sport and let me fulfil my lifelong ambition of
wearing a fireman’s hat and happily put his heavy firefighting gear back on to
pose for some photographs.  While we were
perfecting Danny’s modelling skills he told me about meeting an older
firefighter the day before who has competed in the WPFG every year since 1985 and
said that in all his years taking part he has never seen the games so well
organised.  This is a statement I have
heard repeated many times during the past few days and it is a true testament
to the hard work and dedication of the many organisers and volunteers that are
so far helping to make these games a resounding success.
As my time as a WPFG
volunteer comes sadly to an end I can say hand on heart that it has been an
amazing experience and one I feel very proud and privileged to have played a
part in.  Judging by the atmosphere down
at Titanic for the last two days we have certainly made these games one to
remember and I hope that our legacy of hosting the ‘friendliest games ever’
will live on.
So that’s it, back to the day
job tomorrow where I’m sure I will hear about all the exciting WPFG duties my
fellow Coca-Cola colleagues have been completing during their time as
volunteers.
Over and out . . .

Some Day 8 Action

Reliving Some day 8 Action

All friends after a hard fought rugby7s game between USA and Canada!

day8rugby

Volleyball
volleyball

Rugby 7s make some noise at QUB DUB for WPFG

By Volunteer Rebecca McConnell
The sun was shining in South
Belfast today as rugby 7s action continued at Queens University’s DUB
playing fields. Twenty nine matches were being played on two different pitches
covering four leagues: men’s division 1, men’s division 2A and 2B and the
women’s league. Rugby 7s is played 7 minutes a side with 7 players on each
team.
Playing in the men’s division
1 were An Garda Siochana, British Police, British Prison, Paris Fire Brigade,
New Zealand Fire, Italian State Fire, Italian State and the local boys, PSNI.
Once again, the Haka was
performed by the New Zealand team each time they went out to play. It was quite
an intimidating performance and that was even before any ball was kicked!
Dame Mary Peters popped by to
watch some of the action as well as Kit Kong mascot of the official merchandise
sponsor Kukri. There were a lot of people watching with their kids and dogs and
everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and exciting action.
Some OAPs were
trying to bribe some WPFG volunteers to go and bring them some coffees during
the mornings play, even offering to buy them a brew, but there were no takers!
There was a chorus of Italian
‘Happy Birthday’ sang to one of their players post match. Tamburri Gabriel
shares the same birthday as tennis ace Roger Federer, they both turned 32
today!
PSNI played three matches in
total. They won against British Prison (17 points to nil) but lost matches to
British Police and the Italian State . A member of the team said,
“Competition was stiff today, some great teams out there. PSNI acquitted
ourselves well and we will come back stronger for the next Games in
Fairfax.”
Some of the organisers of the
next WPFG in 2015 were also in attendance at The DUB today to see help them in
their preparations. Keith Houston, a firefighter in Fairfax has been attending
meetings and checking out various sports with his fellow committee members. 
“We’re having a great time in Belfast. We’ve been doing a lot of work,
sharing experiences and seeing what works well. We’re having dinner in City
Hall tonight so I am looking forward to that, it’s been hard going over the
past few days!”
I spoke with members of the
NYPD rugby team as they were warming up to play the Antwerp team in the
Division 2A. They were playing yesterday and beat the NYFD but suffered loses
to other teams. “The most important thing is we beat the fire department!
That’s all that matters. We’re having a fantastic time at the Games, the
traffic is much better here than in New York!”
In the afternoon, I took a
walk up to pitch 13 where the women’s rugby 7s tournament was being played. On
route, I passed by pitches where the WPFG Softball was being played. There was
something for everyone at the DUB today!
In action in the women’s
tournament were teams from An Garda Siochana, USA and two teams from Canada. I
did manage to find a local player, a member of the PSNI, but she was wearing a
Team USA shirt!
“It’s a funny story how
I got roped into playing here today. Basically, we don’t have enough players to
make a PSNI team but I play with Carrick and we wanted to have a friendly match
against one of the WPFG teams, so we set it up with the Americans. It was that
friendly, I don’t even remember the score, I don’t think we were that worried
about it to be honest, we were just getting on well and having a laugh.  When we were setting the match up, the
Americans needed another player for these Games and asked me would I step in.
It’s been great fun, the girls are super. Hopefully for the next Games, we can
pull together a team from the PSNI and the NIFRS and maybe double up with our
counterparts in the Republic for an all Ireland team.”
The Garda won all three of
their matches and go into tomorrow’s semi finals as the favourites. With an
Irish International player on their team, they will be hard to beat.
There is a lot to play for
tomorrow as the semis and finals of all the league tournaments will be played
on the Arena. Come along to QUB DUB playing fields, just beyond the House of
Sport, from 10am to see all the action!