The 2017 World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) kicked off on Sunday inviting police and fire departments from all over the world to Santa Clarita. The closed circuit race, or criterium, was divided into age groups and awarded winners with either gold, silver, or bronze medals. The first winner of the day in the 18+ age group was Joshua Carling, 35, who also won the criterium in the 2015 WPFG. “This was a big goal of mine to win the criterium again this year in 2017,” said Carling. “I had high hopes but you never know. There’s guys from all over the world.” Carling works as a correctional counselor with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the California State Prison, Sacramento. He is also a category 1 USA Cycling racer. Competing in the 35+ age group was Santa Clarita resident Sean Martin. A deputy sheriff with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Sean Martin, 49, has overcome a two-year battle with stage four cancer at the base of his tongue. After receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments, many nerves in his throat remain damaged. “I still have issues like saliva and speech and stuff,” said Martin. “I lost some body weight but I ended up getting back to fitness without gaining weight so that made me a bit faster now.” Martin has spent the last year and a half working to get back on his bike. This past July, he placed third in his age group in the Pedalfest mountain bike race in Central Park and completed the criterium for the day. Sunday’s race marks the beginning of the 2017 WPFG competitive series throughout Santa Clarita and surrounding cities.