SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Police and firefighters from around the world traveled to China to compete in the World Police and Fire Games.
Central Illinois was represented by three firefighters from Springfield.
Kainan Rinaberger, captain with the Springfield Fire Department, said this event is basically the Olympics for first responders.
"They have events like arm wrestling, darts and tug-a-war," Rinaberger said. "Then they have track and field, basketball and indoor rowing like we did."
This wasn't the first time Rinaberger has competed in the games.
"The first one we went to was in Belfast in 2013," Rinaberger said. "We've been to Fairfax County, San Diego and now China."
Springfield firefighter Chris Szorc said this was an experience like no other.
"It was a tremendous experience, going to China," Szorc said. "It wasn't what I was expecting, but it was so much better than I anticipated."
The firefighters said the long travel time made the competitions a little more difficult.
"The flights were definitely the worst," Rinaberger said. "We had a 14-hour flight to Beijing and another 4 hour flight to Chengdu."
Despite the tiredness and time change, the men managed to bring home some medals.
"In the 500m indoor rowing, individual, I got silver," Szorc said. "I did the team 1,000m with Captain Rinaberger, and we got silver in that."
Even though they didn't place, the department's members combined to finish twelfth in the Ultimate Firefighter Challenge.
Szorc said even though everyone was competing against each other, first responders truly have a brotherhood that spans across the world. Szorc said he was happy to represent central Illinois.
"You win something, and you get to show up on the podium," Szorc said. "You get to hang the American flag, and you're wearing your Springfield Fire Department shirt. It's not something you can really do anywhere else."