Northern Ireland

Love is in the air at the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast

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Media captionTake a look inside the World Police and Fire Games wedding album and meet some of the couples who found love in Belfast.

They were called 'The Friendliest Games' but the World Police and Fire Games, which were held in Belfast earlier this month, were also the most romantic - with four engagements, two honeymoons and one couple who renewed their wedding vows.

During the ten day event 56 sports took place in 41 venues across Northern Ireland.

Almost 7,000 competitors from police, fire and prison services from 67 countries participated.

On day three of the games, Daniela Jordan, the girlfriend of one competitor, was watching on nervously as her boyfriend, Dirk Fleischer, competed in the bodybuilding competition at the Waterfront Hall.

Dirk is a police officer with the Magdeburg Police Force in Germany and Daniela had accompanied him to the games but she had her own plan for making this a special trip.

As soon as Dirk won his gold medal Daniela climbed up out of the audience and proposed to him on the podium - he said yes.

'Keep a secret'

"I had planned to propose in Germany but decided to do it in Belfast. I hoped he wouldn't catch on," she said.

"Only one person knew I was going to do it and she was backstage with me. The spectators knew nothing about it."

Although as Daniela found out it can be hard to keep a secret from a police officer.

"I did have an idea that something was going on. One of my German teammates nearly gave it away but it was a great surprise," said Dirk.

So why did Daniela propose to Dirk and not the other way round?

"Dirk once told me I had to prove to him how much I loved him. There was no bigger proof than this," said Daniela.

"It is unusual for a woman to propose in Germany but we German women say we will have wait till we are grey haired for the men to ask us. It's better we do it ourselves."

They were not the only couples to get engaged. Three other men also popped the question to their other halves.

Image caption Emmanuel Chan proposed to his girlfriend Gigi Fong while Tilo Roguszcak also proposed to his girlfriend Silvia.

Andreas Johannson, a Swedish policeman who was competing in the bodybuilding proposed to his girlfriend while Tilo Roguszcak from the Wuppertal Fire Department in Germany proposed to his girlfriend Silvia after the trail race at Donald Park.

As Tilo was running down the mountain he picked wild heather and used it to propose to Silvia at the finish line.

In the second engagement to take place at the Waterfront Hall in less than a week Emmanuel Chan from the Hong Kong Police department proposed to girlfriend Gigi Fong after winning a silver medal in the indoor rowing.

Australian Jim Currell renewed his wedding vows with his wife Janet in a church in east Belfast. His parents had got married in the same church and Jim was christened there before the family moved to Australia.

After competing in a number of events Jim and Janet finished their trip with the special ceremony in front of a small group of family, friends and fellow service personnel.


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Media captionMeet Dirk and Daniela, Joel and Susan and Aaron and Serina - three couples who were celebrating love at the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast.

Of course before you get to the stage of renewing your vows you have to get married first and after every marriage comes the honeymoon.

Aaron Bond from the Houston Fire Department in Texas and his wife Serina chose Northern Ireland and the World Police and Fire Games as their honeymoon destination.

Aaron, who competed in the toughest competitor alive, the bench press and the push pull said the games were a big part of their relationship.

"We met three or four days before I went to compete in my first World Police and Fire Games then the second one she came with me as my girlfriend, the third one she came with me as my wife," he said.

While some people might think Northern Ireland is a strange location for a honeymoon - Serina disagrees.

"It's so romantic, the history, the scenery, it makes it wonderful to be here together and experience something that we could never see in Houston," she said.

Image caption Joel Jackson from the Red Deer Fire Department and his wife Susan MacIntosh from the Royal Canadian Mountain Police came to the games on their honeymoon.

And while most experts say compromise is the key to marriage for the other couple on honeymoon during the games their honeymoon was all about competition.

Joel Jackson from the Red Deer Fire Department and Susan MacIntosh from the Royal Canadian Mountain Police not only decided to go on an activity filled honeymoon but also decided to compete against each other.

"It seemed suiting that we would take part in the games at the end of our honeymoon since they were going on here and it's been a blast. It's been non stop fun since we got here," said Joel.

"It's an amazing honeymoon destination, the shopping is great and so is the Guinness," said Susan.

Joel competed in the archery and table tennis while Susan competed in the Toughest Competitor Alive. They both competed in the half marathon. So who finished first?

"I finished first by one second but I really didn't mean to. I was pushing her and pushing her but my shoe just snuck past before hers did. I couldn't have her beat me. I'd of been bugged at work," said Joel.

Love was certainly in the air over the course of the games and with lots of new relationships blossoming it seems this tale is far from over.

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