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Press Release for Thursday, August 13, 2009

IPTM Instructor Brings Home Gold Medal in Judo Heavyweight Division

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102

 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, British Columbia.

 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 games.”


 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.


He 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).


In 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.