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WorldSkills – an emotional rollercoaster

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

On the third day of competition, the SwissSkills team is experiencing a whole range of emotions. While some need to come to terms with tasks gone wrong, others are completing their work to perfection. And then there are those who have already finished their challenge to great fanfare. But a few team members will still have to give their all on the last day and keep at it until the last minute – borne on a wave of unique team spirit.

«That was a strange day,» says Riet Bulfoni, an automotive mechatronics engineer. He failed his morning challenge, only finding one error in two hours. He felt devastated. «But I have so much support here on site, including from the SwissSkills team. They built up my confidence again, so I was able to really do my best in the afternoon.» Now everything is going according to plan: «Actually things are just perfect. I finished my tasks on time and am happy with the afternoon’s results.»

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

At noon, Silvio Tönz was the first to finish his CNC milling challenge, and Patrick Meier joined him a little later in the CNC turning competition. Both were cheered on by a large contingent of Swiss fans ringing bells and waving flags. Looking back over the past few days, Patrick Meier says that the match was quite exhausting, because he had to work under great time pressure: «But it’s a great feeling to see so many fans out there supporting us.»

Web designer Emil von Wattenwyl has likewise completed his competition marathon, but is still in full competition mode: «It was mega-brutal, the pressure was really enormous – I’m still shaking and my body is pumped full of adrenaline.» Apart from a few hours of sleep, he has been working at full tilt for 30 to 40 hours. The pressure in his head was extreme: «But at the moment I just feel like, wow, amazing, I’m so happy I took part and I will remember these days for a long time to come.»

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

Construction metalworker Michael Graf by contrast still faces some trying times ahead. The start for his skill was delayed, but that made him only «a bit nervous», he says. «It’s tougher than we expected and the days will be longer, because we need to make our 22-hour project in three days,» he explains, adding nonchalantly: «It can’t be helped, so I just have to take things as they come.»