Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Healing hands of Bolt's physio help to ease the strain

Athletes at the World Police and Fire Games are in good hands and likely to get a rub-down from a local woman who worked on Usain Bolt
Athletes at the World Police and Fire Games are in good hands and likely to get a rub-down from a local woman who worked on Usain Bolt

Competitors at the World Police and Fire Games are in good hands – as they are likely to get a rub-down from a local woman who worked on none other than sprint legend Usain Bolt.

Senior physiotherapist and University of Ulster graduate Muireann Harte is one of 30 medical personnel team working at the games.

The Newry woman's healing skills landed her a coveted place on the medical team tasked with looking after the athletes from all over the world.

The former St Paul's High School pupil said she wasn't fazed by the prospect when she was handed the job and why should she?

After all, her most recent assignment was none other than the Olympic Games in London last year where she worked with the likes of the world's fastest man Usain Bolt and his fellow Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake.

Indeed, Muireann revealed it was the Olympics that inspired her to apply for the WPFG.

She said: "It is so exciting to be working on such a big event so close to home.

"I'm relishing the opportunity to work with such impressive competitors.

"Both the Olympics and the WPFG share an amazing energy.

"It's a really thrilling experience to be part of such a large international event and I'm really enjoying working with people who are competing at all levels of ability.

"It's just amazing to think that these are normal day-to-day people, not Olympians, but they compete at such a high level. It's wonderful," she added.

Muireann described working at the London Olympics as an "amazing experience".

She said "It's every physio's dream to work with elite athletes at such a top level and the selection process was quite long and very competitive.

"However, there was so much opportunity and many physios who weren't ultimately selected in that role but they were still able to participate as First Aiders or masseuses."

Muireann received her training from Kingsbridge Private Hospital, the World Police and Fire Games official medical partner, which, she said, has been "incredibly helpful".

But as a fully integrated member of the Games, it's not all work and no play for Muireann.

Only yesterday the Newry woman was immersing herself in some of the WPFG events happening all over the province, even getting involved in the the Ultimate Fire-fighter competition.

It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it.