Belfast, Ireland (Aug. 12) – Fairfax 2015, the organizing committee for the next World Police & Fire Games, received the official flag of the Games at an elec
tric and emotional closing ceremony attended by thousands of athletes and volunteers. The transfer of the flag marks the official handoff of the biennial games from Belfast to the National Capital Region in 2015.
“We wish to thank the federation for providing Fairfax County the opportunity to host the world in 2015,” said Lt. Bruce Blechl of the Fairfax Police Department.
The World Police & Fire Games is one of the largest multi-sport, multi-venue amateur athletic events in the world, second only to the Olympics. The Games feature competitions ranging from weightlifting to darts and draw more than 12,000 competitors from police, fire and public safety agencies worldwide in more 70 countries.
In addition to the flag, the Flame of Hope symbol of the Special Olympics was carried by an athlete and a member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run team and ceremoniously handed over to a representative from Fairfax to begin the journey to its new home. Participants widely praised Belfast and Northern Ireland for hosting the best and “friendliest games ever,” Blechl said.
The 2013 Games in Belfast featured a group of about 60 men and women from the National Capital Region among a large contingent of American competitors. The USA garnered the most medals with 346, followed by Spain with 257 and the UK with 203. Host Northern Ireland earned 120 medals.
Fairfax County Police officers Mike Tucker and Mark Kidd won gold medals in the darts competition, defeating dart throwers from around the world in ‘501’ doubles. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue firefighter Sam Gray won a silver medal in 2000-meter indoor rowing and bronze in 8K mountain running.
The spirit of the WPFG, just concluded in Belfast, is one of camaraderie and sportsmanship among members of law enforcement and first-responder agencies from around the world. The Games encourage volunteerism and good citizenship, and serve to educate young people on the benefits of sports and physical fitness. The Games are designed to build new partnerships between public safety agencies, businesses and communities.