HANFORD — Surrounded by officers from larger agencies and departments, two Hanford Police sergeants stood with medals after competing in the United States Police and Fire Championships.
Sgt. Albert Cano earned first place and Sgt. Gabe Jimenez earned second place in their respective divisions at the competition, which was held June 22-29 at Mesa College in San Diego.
The championship brings athletes from various law enforcement agencies, fire departments, prisons and border patrol competing in Olympic-style sports.
Cano competed in the 50-55 age division over 200 pounds in the toughest competitor alive contest, where participants were challenged in eight events, including a 5K run, 100-meter sprint, shot put, 100-meter swim, bench press, 20-foot rope climb, pull-ups and an obstacle course.
The 52-year-old Cano has competed in several similar games over the years, but said he did not expect to win after reinjuring his Achilles tendon.
While Cano said he decided he would compete just for fun this year, he did admit the last toughest competitor alive competition he did two years ago at the World Police and Fire games left a bad taste in his mouth after he finished in second place. He said it fueled his ambition to compete again and do better this year.
In general, Cano said he likes to stay fit and averages about 4-5 days a week working out with a combination of swimming and lifting weights. He recently began doing CrossFit in Hanford, which is owned by fellow Officer Josh Levin.
Cano said his strength has always been good — he can bench press around 335-340 pounds and do 27 pull-ups — but cardio was where he was lacking.
He said he was humbled by how difficult CrossFit was and credits the high-intensity workout style for accelerating and increasing his cardio conditioning. He also did his research and learned new techniques.
Jimenez, 48, competed for the first time in the 40-49 age division over 200 pounds in the toughest competitor alive contest.
Growing up, Jimenez said he always played sports and is still very active in sports with his kids. He said he had trained for the competition in the past but was hindered by injuries.
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During the competition, Jimenez said he became injured during his third event and wasn’t able to compete in two other events. He said he was a little disappointed in his performance, especially after going through all the hard training that took quite a toll on his body.
Nonetheless, Jimenez said he had a great experience and vowed to train harder.
“I’m looking forward to next year,” Jimenez said.
Competing in events like the United States Police and Fire Championships is a positive all around for the officers.
Police work is difficult in general and sometimes very physical, so Cano likes that competing in events keeps him in shape on his game. Plus it satisfies the sergeants’ competitive natures.
Cano and Jimenez said it was great to see Hanford officers up on the podium after competing against bigger agencies, like the FBI, CHP and LAPD.
“It was a good week,” said Cano, who later accompanied the Hanford Police Department Explorer Post to a competition where they were the champions. Cano is the post’s mentor.
Next time, Cano said he would like to try something different like grappling or jujitsu. He will retire in about 19 months and would to stay in shape until then.
Other officers have competed in the past and Cano and Jimenez said it was fun to compete alongside one other and have someone else from the department there to push each other.
Both sergeants said there’s a sense of camaraderie in competing together and they hope other officers decide to compete in the future.