SINGAPORE - Racing against time and saving lives are nothing out of the ordinary in Sergeant Mohd Abdul Alim's line of work. And yesterday was no different.
Except that this time, he wasn't saving real lives, but taking part in a challenge to do so, in the qualifying rounds for the Braveheart Challenge.
Sgt Abdul Alim, 29, a Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Dart) specialist and part of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), represented Singapore, competing against 44 other contestants from 15 countries, including Indonesia and England.
And he beat all of them, clocking the fastest time of 6.29mins. The challenge was the pinnacle event for the Singapore-Global Firefighters and Paramedics Challenge (SGFPG) 2014.
The SGFPG 2014, a platform for firefighters and paramedics to share their knowledge and expertise, has brought 20 teams of more than 60 participants from 18 countries to Singapore.
The qualifying rounds for the Braveheart Challenge took place at the National Service Training Institute at Jalan Bahar.
Contestants had to go through a sequence of tasks designed to test their endurance and fire-fighting skills.
When his turn came, Sgt Abdul Alim ran 30m with a triple extension ladder and leaned it against an 11m three-storey tall tower. He rolled up two water hoses, which weighed 17.5kg each, on the ground and hoisted them to the third storey with a pulley.
He then climbed the ladder and rescued a dummy casualty from the second storey to the ground.
He climbed back to the third storey and traversed down a rope before carrying the dummy casualty towards the finishing line. Sgt Abdul Alim ousted Dart team colleague and last year's winner Sergeant Azmir Ali's time of 7.30mins, which he clocked in the qualifying rounds.
The rivalry is bittersweet - both of them work and train together. Said Sgt Abdul Alim: "We have been training since three weeks ago, from 8am to 5pm every day.
"Our regime would include a 5-kilometre run, a 2-kilometre walk with tyres, circuit training and a gym session." Mr Lai Yu Min, who is from the Taiwan Search and Rescue Team, signed up for the challenge in the spur of the moment.
This was his first time participating and he had no prior training. "My energy was already depleted when I reached the final obstacle.
My arms gave up halfway but with everyone cheering me on, I pushed on," the 35-year-old said. He completed the challenge in 13mins and qualified for the heats tomorrow.
Participants who completed the challenge in under 15mins qualify for tomorrow's heats. The Braveheart Challenge will conclude on Saturday at Singapore Expo Hall 3, with four finalists from different countries.
A spokesman for SCDF said: "It's not about the prize, it's the pride. "Their names and countries will be inscribed on a Braveheart Challenge shield placed at the Civil Defence Academy."