From August 8th to 18th 2019, the 18th World Police and Fire Games will be held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China. At that time, police officers, firefighters and their families from all over the world will come to Chengdu, the land of abundance, which has a history of more than 4,000 years.
Every WPFG is an international tourism feast for a city. It is reported that the WPFG, known as the ‘police and firefighters` Olympic Games’, will be held in Asia for the first time.
Among numerous Asian and global cities, why did the WPFG favor Chengdu? What is the strategic importance of this event?
Why was Chengdu chosen to host the first WPFG in Asia?
Danny Bodycoat: First of all, the history goes back to 2007. It was the first time Chengdu sent a team to participate in the WPFG, and we were deeply impressed by the spirit of Chengdu police officers.
Chengdu expressed the willingness to host WPFG, and started the process of submitting the application material .
The next step was the bidding process. To bid for a major event like the WPFG, it was necessary for Chengdu to have not only great venues, but also strong support from the police, fire and other departments. Certainly, it also needed the support of the whole city. After our site inspection and site evaluation, we were very confident that Chengdu can host a successful sports meeting. Our inspection took place in 2012 and 2013, and in 2013 we successfully granted Chengdu the right to host the 2019 WPFG in Belfast, UK. This is also the result of the joint efforts of all departments.
As the first host city in Asia, Chengdu has been selected among many Asian cities. Is there any story behind the process? For example, were there any other cities competing?
Danny Bodycoat: Any city interested in hosting WPFG has to submit a bid first. A lot of cities have put forward the bid request to us, including some cities in Asia. After receiving the bid request, we would go to these cities for inspection. In the process, we found that Chengdu has a great advantage in enthusiasm, dedication, professionalism and venue preparation. At last, we decided to choose Chengdu.
Compared with other host cities of WPFG, does Chengdu have advantages in its cultural aspects or any other aspects that impressed you?
Danny Bodycoat: I have seen an explosion of development in Chengdu since I first came here in 2011. Since then, I have came to Chengdu for 7 times and witnessed the development of the freeway system and railway system in Chengdu. Many construction projects were launched and completed. Especially I was amazed by the Global Center.
Every WPFG host city has the opportunity to present the culture of the city and the country to the competitors and their families. Certainly Sichuan food is famous all around the world, and it will be part of the process for the the athletes and their family members to enjoy.
What is the history and significance of the WPFG?
Danny Bodycoat: WPFG was held for the first time in 1985 in California, USA, and now it is held in different cities and different countries around the world every two years. Besides police officers and firefighters, it also reaches out to other law-enforcement departments, such as customs officers and correctional officers. As the Games has evolved, so has the scale and the number of events. Now there will be 54 events in 2019 WPFG. With the games to be held in other places, the total number of events will be over 60.
For the police officers and firefighters, this is effectively their Olympic Games. This is not only their chance to compete in the stage with their peers, but also a fabulous opportunity to enjoy the tourism, and more importantly, the hospitality of the host city.
As the Games has continued to evolve, it has been held in many cities in the world, but one missing step in the process is that it has never been held in Asia. That`s why this is such a significant occasion for the Games to be truly recognized as a world event by this part of the world. As we look forward to the days to come, countries in South America and Africa might also be the host countries, so the 2019 WPFG is very strategic.
What do you think of the performance of Chengdu police in the WPFG?
Danny Bodycoat: In 2007 a handful of Chengdu police officers participated in the WPFG. Since then, more and more competitors from Chengdu police participated in the Games, and many of them get regular exercise to prepare for WPFG. They were successful in most of the Games they participated in. Now Chengdu is the host city, there will be many competitors from within Chengdu and other cities and provinces in this Games.
As we all know, you have worked with many Chinese police, especially with Chengdu police, on various occasions. What is your impression about this team? What do you think of it?
Danny Bodycoat: Yes, I've been here many times. And I also have worked with Chengdu police several times. In my eyes, they are very disciplined and professional with great capacity for implementation, which of course has so much to do with its outstanding leadership. This is what really impressed me.
How many Asian cities have applied to host the WPFG?
Danny Bodycoat: I couldn’t be exact in the number but what I’m sure is that we cannot count the number of the cities with just two hands. So there must be more than ten countries and regions that have applied.
Firstly, when the WPFG is held in Asia, it is going to be easier for police, firefighters and prison officers from China’s neighboring countries and regions to compete in these games than it would have been if the games were held in countries like the United States. As they do not have to be troubled by the long distances, they can save much more time and energy. As a result, more Asian countries will be attracted to participate in this event, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, India, Thailand, Japan, Israel, South Korea. Some parts of China, including Macao and Hong Kong, will also be interested in it. Being near where the event is held means that a lot of money can be saved. Besides, Chengdu’s 144-hour Visa-Free Transit Policy is also attractive to China’s neighboring countries and regions.
World Police and Fire Games can be a feast of international tourism. How many people will come to visit the host city during the event?
Danny Bodycoat: We never can tell exactly how many competitors and visitors will be here until the close of the entries. But usually there were at least 6,000 competitors at each WPFG in the past and these competitors would bring one person or two with them. Most of those people like doing some post-game touring around China, such as going to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors and to Beijing to see the Great Wall. Therefore this event would greatly boost tourism.
Is there any new event in 2019 WPFG?
Danny Bodycoat: As far as I know, Firefighter Steeplechase is a new event in Chengdu. The event initiated by Chengdu firefighters is a great challenge for other firefighters in the world. If you want to attract more attention from the public and media, I would recommend the Toughest Competitor Alive (TCA).
TCA is a 4-day competition. The first three days are for individual matches (TCA). The 4th day is for the Toughet Mixed Doubles (TMD) and Toughest Team Alive (TTA).
In order of occurrence, the phases of the TCA/TTA/TMD events are as follows:
5 Km. Run (0700 hours-Start Time)
100 Meter Dash
100 Meter Swim
20 Foot Rope Climb
Date: 9th-12th, August, 2019
Venue: Shuangliu Sport Center, Extension Line, Baihe Road, Shuangliu District, Chengdu.
Could you please brief us about the preparation work?
Danny Bodycoat: It takes a lot of time and energy for any city to host so many large-scale competitions. It also requires the city to prepare carefully and make best - laid plans. For such big games of 54 events, a lot of venues will be used in this August.
At the moment, most of the work is in place to keep the game going, and there are some small improvements that need to be made. I'm so convinced that it can be done in the next few months.
Most of the work is ready, and the upgrades are on the right track. For example, the rugby field may need some minor upgrades. In addition, we will set up the ice rink in the center of the main venue, which is also in the athletes village. However, there are still some unresolved issues about the ice rink, which are mainly related to the registration. We are not sure how many teams will participate, so there is no way to determine whether to set up one or two rinks. In general, all the basic work is well done.
Therefore, I would express my support and recognition for the work of the organizing committee of the 18th World Police and Fire Games and thank them for their efforts.
How can citizens or athletes get information about this Games?
Danny Bodycoat: This is an important issue. Today, the organizing committee has updated the official website of WPFG 2019, and our team will update the on-line information. Citizens and athletes can visit the website for the latest news and information.
Official Website of WPFG 2019: http://www.chengdu2019wpfg.com/en
Retired Inspector Danny Bodycoat APM
• Was been a serving member of Victoria Police for over 42 years. Throughout his career he has devoted considerable time and effort in the interests of improving the general health and welfare of employees. He is a Churchill Fellow having studied police training and health maintenance programs of overseas departments and has pioneered the introduction of compulsory health and fitness assessments for police officers. His most recent work involved a Victoria Police major project team.
• He holds and has held a number of honorary positions including:
-Founding member; Life Member and current committee member of Victoria Police & Emergency Services Games Federation
-Founding member; Life Member; past Chairman and Director Marketing of Australia and New Zealand Police & Emergency Services Games Federation
-Advisory Board Member 2018 Australasian Police & Emergency Services Games
-Life Member and past Chairman of Victoria Police Amateur Sports & Welfare Society
-Director of the International Governing Body of the World Police and Fire Games Federation and Chair of their International Police & Fire Sub-committee and member of their Site Selection Committee.
• In addition Danny performed the role of Executive Director 1995 World Police & Fire Games in Melbourne. These Games being the most successful in the history of the Games to that stage with 7,000 competitors from 80 countries contesting 65 sports with 65,000 people attending the Opening Ceremony at the MCG.
• Served as the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the 2002 World Masters Games held in Melbourne which was the biggest multi-sport event held in the world to that stage with in excess of 25,000 competitors.
• Performed the role of Chief Executive Officer/Games Manager of the Melbourne 2014 Australasian Police & Emergency Services Games which were the largest and most successful Australasian Games that have been held to date with in excess of 3,200 competitors.
• He is the holder of a Bachelor of Social Science(Physical Education)
• He was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship
• During his career he has been awarded :
Victoria Police Diligent and Ethical Service Medal
National Police Service Medal
Australia Police Medal
Australia Centenary Medal