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Ukrainian firefighters head to Martin County for Firefighter Combat Challenge

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:16 AM EDT
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The toughest two minutes in sports will be hosted in Martin County this weekend.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge is a grueling course that requires strength and endurance and showcases skills that firefighters use every day.

The free-to-attend contest will be held Saturday and Sunday at Stuart Beach and is a regional qualifying event for the national competition scheduled to take place in Fort Pierce in September.

Both Treasure Coast competitions are the only ones in Florida this year.

The number one team in the world from Ukraine will be competing this weekend.

The Treasure Coast Sports Commission was able to setup their arrival after the two-man crew took a train to Poland and then flew to Turkey and then to Florida.

Both men said they had to take a break from training to help save people during the war, but now are in Martin County ready to represent their home country.

"Very similar competitions have actually started in Ukraine three years ago before the war," said one firefighter. "Hopefully with peace coming in the near future, they would love to have similar competitions on this level in Ukraine."

The course starts with firefighters dressed in full gear weighing 40 pounds at the base of a five-story tower. The first responders must climb to the top carrying and then hoist a doughnut weighing another 42 pounds.

The firefighters then race to the bottom to hit the Keiser sled with a mallet and then weave through obstacles before dragging a hose through barn doors and shooting a target.

Finally, a life-sized 175-pound dummy named Rescue Randy must be dragged 106 feet to the finish line.

Competitive times are close to two minutes.

One of the Ukrainian firefighters placed second in the world last year with a time of one minute, 22 seconds.

Both men said they have received an overwhelming amount of support from both men and women first responders since arriving to Florida.

"The biggest reason is to represent Ukraine here on a world stage in front of all the firefighters that have come here for the competition and it's a big honor to be here," said one of the firefighters.

The event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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