Belfast Telegraph

High spirits as Police and Fire athletes savour the atmosphere in Belfast


IT was a night full of excitement for the competitors at the World Police and Fire Games opening ceremony.

Thousands of athletes from all over the world gathered to witness the end product of many months of preparation at the King's Hall in Belfast.

The pre-show entertainment got the crowd in high spirits and even the sun made a welcome appearance.

Police, prison and fire service workers from far and wide were meeting and greeting each other with eager anticipation as to what was in store for the night and the rest of the games.

Kelly Lavington from Australia told the Belfast Telegraph: "We've had a wonderful time so far and everyone has been really friendly and helpful."

The 44-year-old added: "I know quite a few of the Northern Ireland athletes, so now that I'm here I can feel the excitement."

For many, the opening ceremony is the highlight of the games.

Michael Renslad from Germany said: "I'm really excited, I have waited for months to see the show."

Canada's Marion Frechette said: "This is my fourth games and for me the opening ceremony is always the biggest event of the week.

"It is where we meet everybody from all the other countries and it's really good fun."

Two years ago the opening ceremony was held in New York, and team USA were keen to see what Northern Ireland had to offer them.

Californian police officer Daman Tucker said: "With the opening ceremony we are always curious about the entertainment."

Firefighter Jaymes Butler added: "It's a lot of fun, we've gone to just about every games since 1997 so we like to see what other countries have to offer.

"They usually put on a good show."

The games are branded as the friendliest games in the world and it seems that Northern Ireland is doing well in fulfiling this image.

Police officer Wendell Cunningham from Washington DC said: "It's my first time in the games but people are so friendly here.

"I was on the bus the other day and people were tapping me on the shoulder telling me what stop I should get off at."

Prison officer Adam Ledner from Wales said: "This time it really is the friendliest games."

All eyes were on team Northern Ireland as they made their entrance.

PSNI team member Tony Allen said: "It's the first time I've done this – I'm very proud."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph