Two officers with the Delta Police Department got on to the podium after taking on the toughest competition the world has to offer.
Const. Jessy Sahota and Insp. Mo Parry claimed gold and silver respectively at the World Police and Fire Games held last month in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Police, firefighters, CBSA officers, paramedics, military police and corrections officers from 70 countries compete in more than 60 sports, every two years.
The games allow workers who face danger and stress daily a chance to socialize and decompress.
“They were fantastic,” said Sahota. “I think they had over 10,000 athletes competing. They were very well organized and they were super fun.
“It is very refreshing. It’s nice to see good people from all around the world come together.”
Sahota claimed gold in the heavyweight category in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Sahota also won gold when the games were last held in 2019 in China.
Parry narrowly missed gold in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, after his competition went into overtime against a tough competitor from Spain.
“It was neck and neck. He could have got the gold,” Sahota said.
Many people were looking forward to the games resuming after a one-year delay due to the pandemic.
“I think a lot of people were looking forward to the games and when they got postponed, it just made it that much more special,” Sahota said.
While he’s got gold, Sahota isn’t slowing down because he wants Olympic gold.
Sahota trains about 24 hours a week, just competed last weekend and this weekend he’s at another meet in Toronto.
The goal is to keep training and competing in dozens of events in order to climb up the rankings and secure a spot on Team Canada for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
“It’s a huge process,” said Sahota, who’s previously competed for Canada at the Pan American Games.
Parry is now competing recreationally at the master’s level and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“It’s very much a mental game. It’s a real challenge mentally whether it’s learning it or competing,” he said, adding jiu-jitsu has been tested and proven both competitively and in the area of law enforcement. “Learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, in my opinion, is like having a super power. It’s incredible. I love it.”
The sport now has more than just an indirect connection with law enforcement which often requires having to control clients or suspects.
Delta, along with Port Moody, New Westminster, West Vancouver and TransLink now are all providing their officers with some training in modified jiu-jitsu. That reflects a movement in policing towards leveraged-based control (using arm locks or holds) and away from strikes as a last resort for controlling suspects, said Parry, who’s one of the training officers.
That approach is less violent and less likely to lead to escalation.
A study in the U.S. has shown that police who have some training in jiu-jitsu have fewer injuries to themselves, fewer injuries to their subjects and fewer complaints from the public about use of excessive force, he added.
“It helps keep them safe,” Parry said.
The training also improves confidence among officers, who are then better able to control themselves in stressful situations, he said.
“A better-trained police officer is also more confident. A clearer thinking, better-trained police officer is a safer police officer and that translates to better community safety,” Parry said. “I find it to be absolutely fantastic.”