Badran Al Khouri of UAE Civil Defence Force stole the limelight on the first day of competition at the 4th UAE International Firefighter Challenge when he recorded a best time of one minute 40.97 seconds in the preliminary round of the individual race on Wednesday.
The young firefighter raised the bar in the competition organised by 911 Fire Fighting & Occupational Safety Training at the Plaza area of the Dubai World Trade Center on a day dominated by Kuwaitis.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and umbrella of the General Directorate of Dubai Civil Defence, it is part of the Intersec Expo which is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition and conference for security, safety and fire protection in the Middle East.
The competition has attracted firemen from Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Germany, Canada, Austria and hosts UAE who will be competing in three categories - individual, double and relay events.
The inaugural winner of the competition was timed at 2 minutes 40 seconds and last year it improved to 1:45, according to the organisers.
Al Khouri shattered the previous mark displaying a tremendous determination, speed and stamina to complete the six essential tasks of firefighting and rescue: stair climb, hose hoist, forced entry, running, pulling the hose and victim rescue, in record time.
"It is the toughest two-minute sport," said Mohammed Al Ahmadi, Managing Director of 911 Firefighting Group who is the architect behind this event.
"It is a competition which demands high levels of physical fitness. Not everybody can be a fire fighter. It needs strength and endurance," explained Al Ahmadi, former fire chief of Dubai Civil Defence.
Competing against Majed Ahmed Nabeel Khalifa of Assetco Fire & Rescue who clocked 2:01.84, Al Khouri emerged as the favourite for the individual title after his terrific burst.
Two Germans Martin Brieden (1:49.25) and Magnus Hirschfield (1:51.44) representing Challenge Team Germany were the only other competitors to break the two-minutes barrier in the last two races of the day. Matthias Nastvogel from Germany clocked 2:12.22.
Until then firefighters from the Kuwait Civil Defence were setting the pace with Yousef Jaber Al Qallaf clocking 2:03.50 in the seventh race had recorded the best time.
Kuwaitis showed they were in contention for the double and relay titles with Bader Abdul Sattar Al Mulla (2:08.13), Khaled Walid Kanaan (2:13.44) and Saleh Abdulla Al Arbeed (2:17.56) clocking impressive times.
UAE's Hassan Al Balooshi (2:01.97), Ebrahim Almeghazwi (2:13.44) and Ahmed Alwan (2:17.06) showed plenty of spirit.
Fares Bassan Mohammad Abu Thawab (2:19.69) and Mohammad Khalil Eid Abdeljabar (2:22.10) were impressive for Jordan Civil Defence team.
Thursday is the final day of the competition beginning with the doubles at 11.30am and Team Relay at 1pm.
The knockout competition will commence at 3pm and the finals is scheduled to be held at 5.30pm.
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