FIRESPORT


Veronika Krpcová

My first intention was to introduce firesport to you using a lot of description of all disciplines and their rules. Afterwards, I realized it would be boring for you because the description and rules are so complicated that it would not go hand in hand with the main aim of this article – to hold your attention and create a nice idea about this type of sport for those who have never heard about it.

So let’s start all over again.

Firesport is a sport that has one of the biggest memberships in the Czech Republic – twice as big as football’s. Unfortunately, it is often associated with the Czech movie Hoří má panenko, which shows firemen as a bunch of old guys entertaining themselves by doing strange things with pipes and drinking a lot of alcohol. I can somehow understand it because in some villages it used to be like that. Nevertheless, that situation is a far cry from today’s reality.

This was proven by the huge success of the Czech women’s team at last year’s World Championship in Izmir (Turkey), where they won the gold medal, and this year’s success of the Czech men’s team, which won the gold medal in Banska Bystrica (Slovakia). These teams are made up of excellent individuals who are also able to cooperate as a collective. On the subject of individuals, the Czech Republic has the women’s world-records holder Šárka Jiroušová and men’s medallists Daniel Klvaňa, Jakub Pěkný and Pavel Krpec.

The fact that a nation as small as the Czech Republic can win against nations such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Korea, Austria and Germany, is remarkable. The Russian men and women we compete against do this sport as a job. Unlike fire officers in the Czech Republic, they do not have to extinguish fires; they work as athletes, training all day long if they want and getting paid for it. Their conditions are generally better than in other countries. However, the great success of the Czech Republic has led to the belief that money and good conditions don’t always win. Sometimes heart and the desire for success are enough.

I wouldn’t want to deprive you of at least a brief description of the disciplines.

100 m with obstacles: You need to overcome a series of obstacles (balance footbridge and a barrier) while working with two fire hoses, a hose replicator and a fire nozzle. This makes demands on skill and speed.

Climbing the hook ladder: Maybe the most attractive discipline for the fans. Men must reach the highest point of the tower, holding the hook ladder from the starting blocks. The tower is 11 metres high. Women do not have to reach the top of the tower and they do not have to run with the ladder to the tower.  Again, it demands speed and skill. If you are afraid of heights, it is not for you!

Fire relay race 4 x 100 metres with obstacles: It’s a race for four members of the team. During the first and second part, the competitor must overcome two kinds of obstacles. The first looks like a small house and you run on the roof; the second is the same as athletes have. The third part of the relay is the same as the 100 m with obstacles. The last, most attractive one is the extinguishing of a fire using a fire extinguisher. Czechs can do this the best! I do not know if they are not aware of the fire or they have managed to develop a good technique, but in international competitions, you do see the difference.

Fire attack:  You need a lot of equipment to achieve the goal of the discipline. Your task is to hit a small target with a stream of water. The target is connected to a chronometer. The team has seven members. The most important thing here is teamwork. 

The results of these four disciplines are added up and the team with the lowest sum wins.

There are also individual competitions in the Czech Republic, with only one or two of the disciplines described above – usually the 100m with obstacles plus climbing the hook ladder and – the most traditional and most popular discipline in the Czech Republic as whole, with adults and children alike – the fire attack. There are different levels and leagues of different qualities, the biggest and best of which is the Extraliga.

Of course, if you want to be the best, you must train a lot on the athletics field and in the gym. Besides, if you want to find a new hobby, meet new friends and enjoy being part of a community of friendly people, this sport is for you. You will always find the post that suits you best in each discipline, and if not? The atmosphere of competitions where people know each other and are happy to see you again after the long winter break will put a smile on your face and create a heart-warming feeling.