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Time for another round of new and unusual happenings from the wide world of policing

Down with the baton, up with the torch

The Olympic fever that gripped Australia for the Sydney 2000 Games was not restricted to the armchair sports people at home or those in arena stands. Aussie police officers were involved too, not just in crowd management and security at the venues, but participating in the Games itself.

Three years ago Superintendent Terry Lester of the New South Wales state police was appointed to ensure security of traffic and rail transport around Olympic sites, and manage security of the torch relay.

However, the 58 year old soon found himself battling multiple myeloma, a malignant cancer of the bone marrow that is slowly destroying his spine. "On a good day I can walk 1.5 kilometres without any discomfort. On a bad day the morphine makes sure I don't feel a thing," he said.

Despite crumbling vertebrae and endless rounds of chemotherapy, Terry got some great news when he was contacted by the Olympic torch relay organisers and asked to participate.

"It is something I never expected to be involved in and I still don't know how it came about. All I can say is, I won't be setting any land speed records," he quipped, before the Games. "For me, it's going to be a rather slow, dignified, walk."

Meanwhile, Constable Amanda Hardy of the Victoria state police battled for Australia in the hard-fought ladies and mixed doubles badminton. The 28-year-old has been playing badminton since she was 14 and represented Australia at the Atlanta Games in 1996 also. In the run-up to Sydney, she trained five hours a day, six days a week - commitment that would have been too much without the support of her police colleagues.

"Everyone has been behind me - it is their support and encouragement which inspired me to try out for the team. [My colleagues] have been fantastic - always willing to swap shifts and even holidays to fit in with my training and playing schedule," she said.

She was even granted special leave to compete and Victoria Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie sent her a good luck letter, saying the whole force was barracking for her.

Heard similar interesting or humorous yarns in your formation or from colleagues overseas, suitable for CUFF STUFF? Give OffBeat a call on 2866-6173.

*This article has an English version only.

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