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Peterborough’s Fleming College foursome qualify world firefighter combat challenge

Members of Fleming College's FireFit team competed at the national championships in Oshawa earlier this month.
Members of Fleming College's FireFit team competed at the national championships in Oshawa earlier this month. Fleming College

Four Fleming College pre-service firefighter students in Peterborough have qualified for the World Fighter Combat Challenge in Alabama next month.

The foursome — John MacKinnon, Bowman Allan, Declan Fitzpatrick and Emily Dickinson — earned the right following the Scott FireFit Championship in Oshawa earlier this month. The quartet were among Fleming’s nine students and six coaches who competed at the championship.

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It’s the sixth year in a row Fleming College has been represented at the event, which comprises of six gruelling physical tasks based on firefighting tasks performed in emergency situations.

Fitzpatrick earned the 2019 FireFit National Rookie of the Year title by completing the fitness course in a time of 1:24, making him the fastest new competitor in Canada.

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“I got involved in FireFit for the challenge and for career networking opportunities and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked on the camaraderie and fierce competition of the sport,” he said. “I also enjoy the training just as much as the competitions. It will be a privilege to represent Fleming College at the Worlds Challenge. I hope to put down a time that will positively reflect on the team and our school.”

WATCH: Fleming College student Nick Collings in his run at the championship

Head coach and instructor Shawna Coulter, a firefighter in Whitby, notes that several past team members are now employed as firefighters and have joined the coaching ranks for the FireFit challenge.

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“I am proud of the team’s outstanding effort and dedication, it is a huge commitment for these young people and often a juggling act between academic, work and training schedules,” she said.

“The competition extends beyond extreme physical fitness; it embodies teamwork and incredible sportsmanship. For me as a coach and the other amazing individuals that volunteer to coach, it is about encouraging the students to redefine their self-belief, to understand they are capable of anything they set their mind to.

“It is about developing the tools of self-wellness, both physically and mentally. It’s those tools that will help them not only in their careers as future firefighters but in life in general.”

The world championships are in Montgomery, Ala., Oct. 21-26.

WATCH: More than 400 people competing in the Firefit challenge in Oshawa

More than 400 people competing in the Firefit challenge in Oshawa
More than 400 people competing in the Firefit challenge in Oshawa