A former Louth woman has shown her strength and determination after coming out on top at the World Firefighter Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Jessica Towl,29, who is now living in Dubai, tackled the warm climate while wearing full firefighter uniform and carrying over 20kg in weight as she took on the final and won, taking 30,000 dirham’s with her (£5,500).
The contest took place over several weeks with 50 women taking part overall with a number of them being knocked out each week, leaving just two in the final.
The competition included an open category for those not in the emergency profession to take part and Jess was quick to sign up.
The challenges in the competition was linked to a series of tasks which emulates real-life firefighting scenarios including climbing a five-story tower, hoisting a 20kg hose, hitting an hydraulic beam with a mallet, running, advancing a full pressure hose and rescuing an 80kg dummy.
Jess, who is a personal trainer in Dubai, said: “Going into the final I knew I could only come first or second as it had been an elimination process from the start.
“So I was relieved to have won but also incredibly elated. It’s an odd feeling when you are laid on the floor in exhaustion and yet you want to stand up and celebrate.
“For me, the hardest part of the whole course was dragging the 80kg dummy at the end.”
Prior to the contest, Jess had no intention of a career as a firefighter, but is now set to sign up as a volunteer.
She added: “When I signed up for the challenge I had no intention of pursuing a career as a firefighter. However, as the qualification and training weeks went by, I started to think it could be a job that was well suited to me.
“The UAE are currently recruiting voluntary firefighters so I’m going to sign up for that and, who knows, it might lead to a full time job.”
Jess grew up in Louth and has always been interested in sport. She spent many years in Louth, swimming for Louth Dolphins, running for the Louth Harriers and took part in many sports at Monks Dyke where she was educated.
She also represented Team GB and spent 10 years as a professional triathlete.
But now alongside her work as a personal trainer, Jess also competes semi professionally in CrossFit all around the world.
So how will she spend her przie money? Jess said: “I think most of it will get spent on gym equipment and clothes as I spend my entire life in gym clothes. I’ve also booked on to do my Level 1 CrossFit course and I will use some to come back to Louth to visit my family and friends.”