Pretoria - A team of 145 officials from the Department of Correctional Services is expected to participate in the World Police and Fire Games in Vancouver, Canada.
The games, which will kick off on Thursday, will see the South Africans defending their 23 world championship titles in various sporting events.
Men and women participating in the World Police and Fire Games go up against each other in various sporting codes, including athletics, darts, badminton, golf, pistol shooting, rugby, soccer, squash, volleyball, cycling, karate, biathlon and fresh water angling.
Chosen throughout all Correctional Services Management Areas, selection to represent the department was determined by the various sporting codes, sports federations, regional trials as well as assessment by the High Performance Centre in Potchefstroom.
Correctional Services has been participating in the World Police and Fire Games since 1995, earning more than 600 medals.
According to the department, South Africa is bidding to host the games in 2017 to not only help build critical networks, develop knowledge and showcase the sporting prowess of law enforcement agencies, but bring revenue estimated at R240 million to the hosting nation.
In a message delivered to officials just before their departure on Sunday Airport, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the team carried the hopes and aspirations of a great sporting nation.
"I trust that you will excel and bring back more medals," Minister Nosiviwe-Nqakula said.