Crooks would be well advised to stay away from Cocoa Beach in Florida until at least the middle of August. Hundreds of policemen and women from around the world are in the resort to compete in the International Law Enforcement Games.This content was published on August 4, 2000 - 11:35
Officers from 17 countries, including Switzerland, will take part in events as varied as horseshoe throwing, darts, bullseye pistol and more traditional sports such as basketball, cycling and judo. They will also be battling for the title of Toughest Cop Alive, in which participants run, swim, climb and lift weights.
About 6,000 people are due to take part in the bi-annual event, which opens formally on Sunday. Besides the Swiss delegation and a sizeable presence from the host country, teams are also expected from Russia, Australia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong and many European countries.
The men and women in uniform will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in the events, many directly culled from their profession. There is Mounted Police, Police Motorcycle, Combat Pistol and Practical Shooting.
There are also more mainstream sports, such as beach volleyball, golf, cross-country running and swimming, and officers compete in age categories that vary according to the sport.
Switzerland will be hoping to match its tally of four gold medals at the last games in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, two years ago. The Swiss winners in 1998 were Elizabeth Nufer in cross-country running (18-29 year-olds), Renato Steiner and Richard Steiner in men's cycling (30-34 year-olds and 50-59 year-olds), and Adrian Leuthard in swimming (50 metres breast stroke, 18-28 year-olds).
The stated aim of the International Law Enforcement Games is to "build stronger bonds between fellow law enforcement officers throughout the world through sports".
The idea originated in the US, where the first six events were held between 1976 and 1986. Since 1988, when Australia hosted the event, the organisers have been trying to schedule the games outside the US every two years.
swissinfo with agencies
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