HAMMER thrower Amir Williamson will, quite literally, step out of the fire and into the Commonwealth Games furnace next week.
Unlike the vast majority of his England team-mates at the Games, the 27-year-old from Linford, near Stanford-le-Hope, is not a full-time athlete.
Instead he balances training for international competitions with his day job as a firefighter based at East Greenwich. And that balancing act is no easy feat.
Here Amir talks RYAN GOAD through an average day in his life.
7PM, LEAVE FOR WORK: The late shift starts at 8pm and it usually takes about 40 to 45 minutes to get to East Greenwich station. I don’t get particularly nervous thinking about the day ahead, it’s just like any job for me now. I just put the radio on and relax.
8PM-8AM, THE NIGHT SHIFT: The first thing we do when we get in is check all our gear and make sure all the equipment is working properly. Then it’s a case of waiting for the alarm to sound. There are some days when you could be in for five minutes and you get the call, other times you can wait a bit longer.
Our station is only one floor, so we don’t have the poles to slide down like you see elsewhere once the bell sounds. But as soon as it rings, all the lads get switched on and make their way over to the map to see where we are going. We are then in the pump and out of the door within about 45 to 50 seconds of the alarm being sounded.
You are given some idea of the job you are going to and, depending on what it is, the adrenaline can really kick in at that point. You know that if it’s a call for multiple pumps, for instance, then it’s going to be a big job or if it’s an RTA (road traffic accident), you could be dealing with casualties.
We had a really big call out the other day. We were out for five hours as one of 15 pumps called to a derelict building that was alight with people inside. You know then that it’s going to be a long night.
On the other hand, it might just be a routine house fire call when we are only out for an hour or so.
When we are back at the station in between jobs, it’s not a case of doing nothing. We catch up on policies and have lectures. If it was a day shift we’d be able to go into the yard and practice drills, but we can’t really be throwing ladders around at night and keeping the neighbours up.
Some days are busier than others. Fridays and Saturdays you get more RTAs for example, but one thing that is always the same is the banter with the rest of the crew. We’ve been working with each other for a while so everyone gets on.
8AM-9.30AM, END OF SHIFT: The shift finishes whenever our last job is over and depending on what time it is, and how the shift has been, I’ll leave work and make a decision on what training I’ll be doing that day.
If I’ve had a good shift and I’m not feeling too tired, I will go straight on to training. I’d have packed my kit the night before and just drive straight on to Lee Valley Athletics Centre.
If it’s been a hard and busy shift, I might decide to go home and straight to bed. If that’s the case I’d get up and go to training and then go on straight to work.
I’ve been a firefighter for three years now and at first I found it hard balancing work and training and knowing when to train and when to go home to bed, but I have found a way to manage it now and it seems to be working.
If I do go straight to training after work, I usually have a throwing session that can be anywhere between one-and-a-half to two hours long and then I follow it up with a 40-minute gym session afterwards.
NOON, HOME TO BED: I finally get home and make myself some lunch before going to bed for a couple of hours. It doesn’t seen a lot, but it’s all I need.
5PM, DINNER WITH THE WIFE: My wife, Emma, works a normal nine to five, so I try to make sure we have dinner together otherwise we won’t see much of each other. Then it’s off to get my bags packed and it all starts again!
We’re asking all of our Commonwealth Games athletes, eight quick-fire questions.
GETTING TO KNOW...AMIR WILLIAMSON
1) WHAT GOT YOU INTO THE SPORT?
I went down to my first club, Blackheath & Bromley, after my PE teacher said I should give it a go and I saw this guy, Karim Chester, throwing the hammer and thought ‘I want to do that’
2) WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO BEFORE YOU COMPETE? There’s no one particular track but I listen to my iPod and have a mix of RnB, hip-hop or house music on.
3) WHAT OTHER SPORT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE GOOD AT?
Football. I hate it but I’d love to be a millionaire!
4) WHAT SUPERSTITIONS DO YOU HAVE? None.
5) WHO IS YOUR HERO? My brother, Alistair Williamson.
6) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PRE-COMPETITION MEAL? Scrambled eggs on toast with a protein shake.
7) WHAT IS YOUR WEAKNESS? Sugar. I love sugar. I used to have five spoonfuls of it in hot drinks!
8) WHAT OTHER SPORT WOULD YOU LIKE TO WATCH AT THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES? Weightlifting in the super heavy category.