The hero of Helsinki Airport: Sixth consecutive world championship in karate
Finavia’s fire chief Kim Waenerberg took his sixth world championship in karate at the World Police & Fire Games. He has not lost a single match in ten years.
Finavia’s fire chief Kim Waenerberg received the gold medal once again this year at the World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles. This was Waenerberg’s sixth consecutive win: he has not lost a single match during the ten-year history of the games.
“I started karate when I was 14 and haven’t suffered any major injuries, so I’ve managed to train well. It’s easy to keep your body functional even at an older age with diverse training habits and an optimised ratio of training and rest. I don’t know how long the other contestants have been training. The skill levels can really vary in these games,” says Waenerberg, assessing his success.
A factor increasing the suspense of the games was Waenerberg rupturing his calf just two weeks before the event. This forced him to take things easy during the weeks before the games, which may have given him an advantage.
“I was in great shape just before the games, and during the matches, I had my calf well bandaged. You don’t notice minor injuries during a match when you are in fighting mood,” he notes.
The World Police & Fire Games had a total of nearly 10,000 participants in different sports this year. Over the years, Waenerberg has made plenty of international friends and he constantly receives invitations for visits.
Championships in five decades
Waenerberg has practiced karate for nearly four decades and he has won the Finnish championships in five different decades. He competed on the national level in 1985–1995, winning around twenty Finnish championships as well as one Nordic championship, a bronze medal at the European championships and another at the word championships. In addition to the World Police & Fire Games, Waenerberg is currently competing successfully in the senior class at the European and World championship level.
“Before a match, I always prepare so well that I never have to wonder if I could have done something better. For the games in Los Angeles, I got to train with Oskari Rajala, who works as a fireman at the Helsinki emergency services, which was great. Oskari competes in karate on the national level.”
Waenerberg takes care of his health by skiing, training at the gym and practicing kick-boxing as well as karate. He also does coaching for kick and fitness boxing.
The World Police & Fire Games are held every second year. The next games will be organised in Chengdu, China in 2019. His health permitting, Kim Waenerberg intends to remain a part of the games.