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Mar 26, 2019

Belize Law Enforcement Officer Win Baker 2 Vegas Relay Competition in the U.S.

A contingent of athletes returned home today victorious. The team of twenty-five drawn from the three arms of law enforcement brought home the three feet tall trophy after securing the top spot in the Baker to Vegas Relay Competition in Las Vegas. This is the fourth time they compete and they placed first, breaking a seven-year stronghold once held by the LAPD. A crowd of enthusiast supporters met them at the P.G.I.A.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Belize Protectors takes first place in the international Baker to Vegas Relay Competition in the United States. Over the weekend, a group of twenty-five law enforcement officers from the Coastguard, the Police Department and the Belize Defense Force took on twenty legs of relay, spanning one hundred and twenty miles from Baker California to Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas. Today, the team returned to Belize and were greeted by a large crowd of supporters and colleagues before they participated in a motorcade through the principal streets of the city.


Linden Flowers

Linden Flowers, Team Captain, Belize Protectors

“The win is awesome. I am near speechless. It was very exciting to be in Westgate Convention Centre Sunday morning around four-thirty when Belize team, all of what you are seeing here, twenty runners with Mister Villafranco crossing the line in twelve hours, forty-nine minutes and forty-four seconds.”


It’s the best time that team Belize has done in the four consecutive years that it has competed in the international relay. Two hundred and eighty-nine teams comprising of officers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada participated and Belize came out on top, breaking a seven-year winning streak by the LAPD.


Linden Flowers

“We ran for twelve hours forty-nine minutes and forty-four seconds; that is a margin of fifty-one seconds ahead of LAPD. LAPD is a part of the organization that started the race thirty-five years ago and they have been winning this challenge since 2012. And when we started 2016, I said to them we are going to take number one.”


Lance Corporal Ernesto Villafranco has been representing the country in the relay since 2016. In its first outing, Belize Protectors placed six, third in its second year and came second last year. Villafranco says that he had his eyes on the three feet tall trophy and brought it home.


Ernesto Villafranco

Ernesto Villafranco, Belize Protectors

“I had to play catch up because the first place had a minute and a half lead on us. And the guys worked hard so it was like a burden on my shoulder so I said the same way the guys worked hard, I am going to work hard and try catch back this person and bring it in. It was on the last mile, I catch the first place and I kept with him a little because I was tired. It was on the tape, on the last finishing when I saw my coach cheering for me, that gave me the strength to sprint across the line. This is my fourth year; last year when we came in second, I went and I touch the trophy and I give it a kiss and the other guys watched me cause it wasn’t our trophy as yet. I told them, with no disrespect, this trophy is ours next year and it so happens that I was switched from leg one to the last leg cause for three years I start. And this year, it so happen that I end up bring it across the line.”


It’s a gruelling competition that was held on March twenty-third and twenty-fourth and Team Captain, Linden Flowers of the Police Department spoke of the preparation going in.


Linden Flowers

“It is in honour of fallen officers and the athletes ran with a baton with all the fallen officers from around the United States, Australia, Canada and other places. It is an awesome experience, it is an awesome opportunity where you get to show the talents of the Belizean athletes, the talents of Belizean law enforcement officers; the seriousness of task before body. It is a collaborative effort. The training is intense. We start the tryout in October; we get our twenty-five runners somewhere in January, February and we put it off across the country. We run in Belize City, out on the western highway, the southern highway; gruesome amount of training go into this. There is some trade secrets to it, but it has to do with the men on the ground running across…you know we don’t have a dessert in Belize and we don’t have the kinda temperature that we have in Vegas.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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