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Firefighters strike gold at World Games 5 September 2008

ISLE of Man officers struck gold at the recent World Firefighter Games held in Liverpool.

The eight-strong team from the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service scooped an impressive haul of eight gold, five silver and three bronze medals at the prestigious event.

Clay pigeon shooter Neil Parsons made a significant personal contribution to that total as he secured no fewer than 10 medals in three different disciplines – including seven golds. The retained Laxey firefighter, who has represented the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games, was on target in the trap (three gold, one silver), skeet (three gold) and sporting competitions (one gold, one silver, one bronze).

Shooting team-mate Jason Wright, also from the Laxey station, bagged a silver medal in the skeet event and a silver and bronze in the sporting. Jason underlined his sporting versatility by then picking up a pool cue to pot his way to silver in the nine-ball doubles and bronze in the eight-ball doubles competitions.

The other member of the Island team to hit the gold trail was full-time officer Floyd Askin who defeated all-comers to land the top honours in the judo arena.

Tim Calladine battled through difficult conditions on a challenging course to produce a creditable finish in the golf tournament. And four local firefighters also performed with distinction in the mountain bike event, tackling a tough course in North Wales alongside a number of elite category opponents. Mark Caley led home the Island quartet in 14th position overall ahead of Gary Hinds 21st, Chief Fire Officer Brian Draper 22nd and Steve Brearley 27th.

The World Firefighter Games, which raise thousands of pounds for charity, saw 3,500 officers from around the world compete in a series of fiercely contested sporting events over 10 days. Chief Fire Officer Brian Draper said:

‘It was a privilege to take part in such a fantastic event and everybody thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, camaraderie and wonderful locations. The standard of competition was extremely high, with some top international athletes and even a former Tour de France cyclist among the entry lists. That makes the gold medal winning performances of Neil Parsons and Floyd Askin all the more noteworthy. Their success capped a great all-round team effort.’

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