The 2019 Singapore-Global Firefighters and Paramedic Challenge (SGFPC) consists of three categories of competition namely, the Global Challenge, Singapore Challenge, and Public Challenge. This year, SCDF and 13 international teams participated in the Global Challenge category.
One of the most adrenaline pumping challenges under the Global Challenge category is the signature flagship ‘Braveheart Challenge’ competition. This flagship event is designed to test an individual’s strength, agility, skills and mental endurance.
WO2 Muhammad Bukhary Abu Bakar from the SCDF took home the championship title with record timing of five minutes and twelve seconds! WO2 Bukhary won the championship in 2016 and 2018, making him a three-time champion thus far.
Commissioner Eric Yap presenting an award to this year’s champion WO2 Muhammad Bukhary Abu Bakar.
WO2 Muhammad Bukhary Abu Bakar staying focused and keeping his composure during the competition.
Another SCDF three-time champion, WO1 Azmir Ali, participated in the Braveheart Challenge, and completed the course in five minutes and thirty-five seconds. This is the same duration he took to complete his last Braveheart Challenge four years ago. WO1 Azmir won the championship in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Although he did not win the championship this year, WO1 Azmir is determined to give his best for the next competition.
WO1 Azmir Ali in action, giving his best during the competition.
With all his might, WO1 Azmir Ali hit the bell to finish the race at 5 minutes and 35 seconds.
The Top 4 finalists of the Individual Braveheart Challenge.
Rescue 995 met the 3-time champions to find out their secrets for winning the competition and doing SCDF proud all these years.
R995 Editor: Congratulations, Bukhary, on winning the Braveheart Challenge and being the 3-time champion this year! How do you think you have fared compared to the previous times?
Bukhary: I think my timing of completing the Braveheart Challenge has improved and this is the only performance indicator. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same. As we get older, attaining a faster timing for the obstacle course is good news as well.
R995 Editor: What is the hardest part of the obstacle course?
Bukhary: The whole obstacle course. It has a lot to do with doing the course seamlessly while keeping your composure at all times. If you fail to keep your composure, you might lose your momentum and your overall timing will be affected.
R995 Editor: How did you train yourself up for this competition?
Bukhary: Azmir and I trained every day doing weights and circuit for 3 to 4 hours since October, which was more than a month before the competition.
R995 Editor: Since you trained so hard for the competition, what is so important about being the winner for the Braveheart Challenge?
Bukhary: I see this an obligation to win the competition since we are the host country. To me, it should be a top priority to do our country proud.
R995 Editor: What is your advice or tips for anyone in the Force who wants to participate in this competition?
Bukhary: First of all, you need to have ample level of fitness and to have a lot of mileage on the circuit. Most importantly, try to keep your composure during the training and the actual competition. As you train, your muscle memory comes into play and so, you’ll get used to the momentum. The more you train, the fitter you will become. That’s how you can eventually achieve a better timing as well.
R995 Editor: What is one life motto that kept you motivated throughout your training for the competition?
Bukhary: Hard work and perseverance, all the time, every time.
R995 Editor: Thanks, Bukhary. Azmir, you’ve won the championship in 2013, 2014, and 2015. What is your best timing so far?
Azmir: My fastest timing was five minutes and fourteen seconds, which was four years ago in 2015. After that, I went for my knee surgery in 2016 and was out of action for some time.
R995 Editor: How are you doing so far? Are you recovering well?
Azmir: I am recovering well so far, and even though I am not at my peak currently, I am still able to run better without any pain. For this, it’s a good sign to me.
R995 Editor: How were you feeling during the competition?
Azmir: I was feeling nervous because I have been out of action for quite some time and I didn’t know what to expect. I think it’s also normal to be nervous and to have jitters before any competition.
R995 Editor: You didn’t win the championship this year, what is your thoughts and feelings about this?
Azmir: To be honest, I am a little disappointed in myself for not being the champion this time. But I also know that this is a competition – someone has to win; someone has to lose. Looking back, I still think that my timing is not that bad, and I am happy that we were able to retain the championship for the competition once again.
R995 Editor: And I am sure that both you and Bukhary did SCDF proud as well. Bukhary, is there any encouragement that you can give to Azmir?
(laughter from both champions)
Bukhary: Well, when we started participating in this Braveheart Challenge around 5 years ago, I was his (Azmir’s) motivator. And last weekend, he (Azmir) was my motivator. It shows how appreciative and cohesive we are as team members. For Azmir to maintain his physique, it takes a lot of time and discipline. Moreover, both of us have two children, and yet, he still finds time to train at the gym more than I do. That’s why I do respect him a lot, and more so for his sportsmanship, because this competition is not just an individual sport, but more of a team effort. We also frequently exchange pointers on areas we can improve on. And when we went through our selection phase, our individual timing actually broke our previous years’ record going below 5 minutes for the whole course.
Azmir: Yes, and I believe that even though it was a competition where we should be competing with our competitors, we should always be competing against our personal best.
R995 Editor: Azmir, at the end of the day, what you hope to achieve by participating in the Braveheart Challenge?
Azmir: For me I’m just trying to get back my level of fitness of how I used to be. Back then, it was different as I felt I was at my peak. Right now, I feel that with my age catching up and recovering from my injury, I take this as a challenge to motivate myself. This is a good thing because I can continue to push my limits and improve myself further.
R995 Editor: If there is one thing you could do differently for the circuit, what would it be?
Azmir: I took too long with the hose. Like he (Bukhary) said, you have to keep your composure. When I took too long with the hose last week, I knew that my timing has already been affected. So, the most critical part of the competition is that you have to be consistent so that things can go smoothly in order for you to be at your best performance.