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Greg DiFranza, tactical enforcement unit coordinator
at the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) at the University of North Florida,
won a gold medal in judo for the Grandmaster Heavyweight division at the 2009
World Police & Fire Games in Vancouver,
DiFranza, a Jacksonville
Beach resident, won two matches in under 30 seconds,
giving him his third consecutive gold medal win in the bi-annual event. He won
gold medals both in the 2005 and 2007 World Police & Fire Games.
“I’m excited about winning my third
gold medal in this international sporting event,” he said. “There were some
outstanding judo players in the field of 191 competitors, and Vancouver did an excellent job of hosting the
DiFranza, 52, was the only judo
player from the USA to win a
gold medal, and one of only three USA medalists in the two-day judo
event. A record 10,500 athletes from 59 countries competed in 77 events held at
more than 65 venues in Vancouver.
The World Police & Fire Games are open to active
and retired police officers, correctional and firefighters from around the
world. DiFranza is a retired police officer from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s
Office. The next games will be held in 2011 in New York City to honor the fallen officers
and firefighters of 9/11.
DiFranza, who has been an
IPTM instructor at UNF for more than 20 years, has actively competed in Kodokan
Judo since 1965 and currently holds the instructor
ranking of Sandan (third degree black belt). He has held various divisional, state
and Southeastern United States championship
titles, including a gold medal in the Florida State Police Olympics in 1982.
retired from competition in 1983 but returned as the Sunshine State Games gold
medal champion in 2000 and 2002. He won the USA National Champion in the
Master’s 100+ kg division for three consecutive years between 2003 and 2005. In 2005, DiFranza also won the gold medal in
the Pan American Judo Championships in the heavyweight division, a silver medal
in the open weight division and gold in the team competition (team Florida).
1985, the World Police & Fire Games Federation, a non-profit organization
run by the Californian Police Athletics Federation, established the World
Police & Fire Games. Today, the World Police & Fire Games are an
international sporting event, offering police officers, firefighters, customs
and correction officers from around the world an opportunity to showcase their
athletic excellence in over 65 sporting events.
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