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Sports : General
ENTHUSIASTIC: Shruti Sharma (left) and Brij Taneja are two of the youngest volunteers doing duty at the Games Village.
NEW DELHI: They are everywhere, from the airport to the Village, to the venues, receiving visitors and guiding them, trying to make them feel “at home.”
They are the face of the Commonwealth Games and much depends on them. The volunteers, 22,000 of them, are playing the most important role in the workforce. Just the way an enthusiastic group of 780 did in 1982 at the Asian Games.
Radhica Sreeman was a second year college student when she joined the Asian Games volunteer force. “We were known as guides,” she recalls. They are called volunteers now. It hardly matters, as long, as the “kids” do their jobs, says Radhica.
Dream come true
For Shruti Sharma, also a second year college student, the opportunity to don the colourful track suit and work at the Village is a “dream come true.”
She is part of a lively force that is making friends and winning the hearts of the guests at the Village.
The girl guides, who outnumbered boys in 21-event sporting extravaganza in 1982, wore silk sarees. “Beige and turquoise blue with a black cardigan,” Radhica recalls. The boys were given grey suits with shirts and ties.
“We had a sustained training of a month and some of us worked at the Trial Games ahead of the Asian Games,” remembers Radhica.
Some volunteers gained “experience” during the test events over the last six months. “The atmosphere was great. We were on top of the world as we got to interact with some of the finest athletes in Asia. There was lot of glamour. In fact, most of were sad when the Games were over,” said Radhica.
“For me it is a matter of pride when I step out of my house everyday to reach the Games Village,” says Shruti. “When I first heard of the Games, I thought of being part of the Games. I knew it will be a great experience and I am living it.”
Shruti is happy when the visitors say they have been “mesmerised” by the facilities at the Village.
“We have an important part to play. It is a big opportunity. I have enjoyed my interactions with the athletes. They are so friendly and it has been a privilege because we are guided by our caring core leaders.”
The volunteers are doing a superb job in all areas against heavy odds. All they would get at the end would be a certificate.
It was so different in 1982. “We were paid Rs 65 per day. There were no security hassles and our travel and food was not a problem at all. Our accreditation could take us to the competition venues too. I have some very pleasant memories of the wonderful job that the guides and liaison officers did. I am sure the kids at the CWG would outperform us. They are so bright and energetic,” says Radhica.
Radhica is looking after a group of 920 youngsters, drawn from the LNCPE and the SAI Schemes, to be posted at training and competition venues.
It is like “living the role again” for Radhica, presently a Director with the Sports Authority of India.
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