SHE’S been up against some fierce and fiery competitors and stood ringside to some of the region’s biggest blazes – and now she’s earned the title of Hawkesbury’s toughest firefighter.
Sally Hatcher recently took on her toughest challenge yet.
To say she competed at the 2012 World Firefighter games is an understatement. The Yarramundi fiery smoked it!
Mrs Hatcher competed in more than 16 swimming events in the 50-59 category, from the 50m freestyle to the 800m and took out gold in 13 of them.
So you would think she’s a pro, right?.....wrong.
Mrs Hatcher told the Gazette she only started training in January this year after hearing for the first time about the games.
“When I started training, I couldn’t even swim 100 metres without gasping for air,” Mrs Hatcher said.
“But then, once I got the hang of it and could swim 100, I would swim 200, then 800, then a kilometre. I just kept improving.”
When asked why she decided to enter the competition, Mrs Hatcher said it was purely for the challenge.
“I wasn’t expecting this result, that’s for sure,” she said.
Mrs Hatcher has been a member of Yarramundi Rural Fire Brigade for more than 30 years.
“When I called up and told my captain, he nearly fell off his chair,” she laughed.
Julia Sercombe, from Blaxland Ridge Rural Fire Brigade, also had great success at the games.
She took out two silver medals in the 60km women’s cycling road race and the 8km women’s cross-country run.
Ms Sercombe who joined the RFS in 2002, said after witnessing the 2001 Christmas fires first hand, she now competes in the NSW Police Games every year and can now add the World Firefighting Games to her list of things to do.
More than 10,000 firefighters from around the world competed in more than 70 different events from October 19-28.
Held at Homebush, the World Firefighting Games honour the per