Unity, relaxation and performing

One already has medals in his pocket, the other is participating for the first time. Czech firefighter Pavel Kouřík and Dutch police officer Yva Geluk have both registered for the World Police and Fire Games 2022 in Rotterdam.

As a fit firefighter, you can excel at the WPFG. The 28-year-old Kouřík knows all about it. He is a multi medalist. In 2017, he won gold in the Stair Race and bronze in Ultimate Firefighter in Los Angeles; in 2019, he placed third in both disciplines. To become the Ultimate Firefighter, contestants must execute and complete a simulated fire situation as best and as quickly as possible. Athletes must roll up and out a fire hose, run up stairs, move weights and drag a dummy doll. "That last one is the most spectacular," says Kouřík, who is eager to win medals again. "We have to move dozens of meters with the "Rescue Randy" dummy, which weighs 80 kilograms. It's really very tough." At the WPFG 2022, this spectacular event will be held in the center of Rotterdam, on the Schouwburgplein.

Kouřík works at the fire brigade in Domažlice, near the German border. He explains that sport is an important part of his job. "In the Czech Republic, it is obligatory to do two hours of sport for every 24 hours you work. It is crucial to be fit. We have to be strong, in shape and smart and alert. Firefighters have to make the right decisions quickly, there is no place for mistakes. Hence, the entry requirements to become a firefighter are strict; we have to undergo extensive physical and medical testing to join the fire department."

Cycling Selection
Sport is also important with the Dutch emergency services. Police officer Yva Geluk is in the cycling selection of the Dutch Police Sports Association (NPSB). In fact, she is also a team leader. "We also ride at European Championships and World Cups. It's a nice little club: we share a special bond, which is our work. On the bike we talk to each other easily. The police can be hierarchical. Someone who has just come in is not going to chat directly with the chief, but when you're exercising it's different. On the bike everyone is equal and you don't know that your opponent is the chief of police."
Geluk is an operations specialist B with the Rotterdam police. In her work, the graduated criminologist investigates shooting incidents. For the past eight years she has been on a bicycle for recreation and sport. She rides club races and has also been part of the semi-professional international women's peloton. "I did a multi-day stage race in the Czech Republic just last year. That didn't go too well, I fell, but I pick my races here and there. I never wanted to become a pro," says the 32-year-old Geluk. "It seems like a monotonous and lonely existence to only be involved in sports. I don't want to be completely dependent on cycling. I feel comfortable cycling after a hard day's work with the police."

And to go through experiences like the World Police and Fire Games in Rotterdam. Geluk will compete in the road race, but will also ride the time trial and be in action on the mountain bike. "I'm trying to get colleagues excited, because it's going to be bigger and more beautiful than the European Championships we ride. The togetherness and relaxation - in addition to performing - are what seem important to me at such an event."

Czech firefighter Kouřík agrees. He feels it is an honor to represent his country and to meet colleagues from around the world. "At European championships and other events, I love talking to other athletes. In the United States, we once toured a fire station in Hollywood. And in Chengdu, at the WPFG in 2019, we also went to a local fire station. I really enjoyed that. Nice to see and to experience the atmosphere of the workplace and of the event like that!"

Author: Walter Tempelman