Friendly faces come with helping hands

Volunteers are on hand at venues to provide interpreting and information services, assist people with disabilities and handle any emergencies. PHOTOS BY YUAN XUEJIN / FOR CHINA DAILY AND XINHUA
Volunteers are on hand at venues to provide interpreting and information services, assist people with disabilities and handle any emergencies. PHOTOS BY YUAN XUEJIN / FOR CHINA DAILY AND XINHUA

By CUI JIA

Published: Fri 11 Feb 2022, 11:11 AM

Well-prepared volunteers for the Beijing Winter Olympics are providing professional services and delivering the warmest of welcomes to participants at the Games.



Volunteers are on hand at venues to provide interpreting and information services, assist people with disabilities and handle any emergencies. PHOTOS BY YUAN XUEJIN / FOR CHINA DAILY AND XINHUA
Volunteers are on hand at venues to provide interpreting and information services, assist people with disabilities and handle any emergencies. PHOTOS BY YUAN XUEJIN / FOR CHINA DAILY AND XINHUA

About 19,000 volunteers dressed in blue uniforms are stationed in and around the venues to provide information and interpreting services, help those with disabilities and handle any emergencies. Half are specialist volunteers who have professional knowledge, skills and expertise in specific areas.

The performance of volunteers plays a critical role in the operation of world-class sporting events, as well as helping participants from around the world learn more about China. The Games opened on February 4 and will run until 20, and the Winter Paralympics will be held from March 4 to 13.

It was not easy to make it onto the Games’ volunteer team, with more than a million people, including more than 2,000 with disabilities, applying for roles. About 95 per cent of them were between 18 and 35.

Candidates had to pass a strict selection process and interviews before they could join the team.

In November the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games sent a thank-you letter to those who were unsuccessful in their bid to become volunteers.

The pandemic has brought great challenges to many aspects of the preparation work, and the committee revised requirements for volunteers, taking epidemic control and prevention into account, the letter said.

“Although you weren’t selected as a volunteer for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, every applicant is an excellent promoter of the Olympic spirit and volunteerism,” the letter said.

Among the su ccessfu l candidates, the youngest is 18 and the oldest 63. All volunteers were required to attend training courses.

Jiang Yuxin, who serves at the curling venue the Ice Cube in the Beijing competition zone, said people who worked as volunteers at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics trained volunteers for the 2022 Winter Games.

Jiang, a law student at Peking University, trained in venue operations and learned about the sport of curling and how to serve people with disabilities. He took part in test events in October.

“Beijing 2022 will surely make young people feel proud of the country and fall in love with winter sports,” Jiang said.

He said he hoped that volunteers would impress the world with their enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication.

Dong Jiachen, a volunteer who is studying at Peking University who also serves at the Ice Cube, said volunteer work helps her connect with others and wider society, giving her an invaluable sense of accomplishment.

“I’ll be doing my best as a Beijing 2022 volunteer to solve problems efficiently and make visitors from home and abroad feel the warmth of China’s young people.”

Li Wanghua, a Hebei Normal University student, said she applied immediately when the organising committee began recruiting volunteers.

“The professionalism and passion of the volunteers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics are deeply imbedded in my memory, although I was only a primary school student back then. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to emulate them.”

Li, 23, who serves at the Zhangjiakou competition zone’s medal plaza, said the training she received exceeded her expectations. As the competitions in Zhangjiakou are all snow events held outdoors, volunteers received cold-resistance training to prepare them for working long hours in the chilly weather, she said.

“Volunteers are irreplaceable links to ensure the smooth running of the Games.”

Zhang Lina, deputy head of the volunteer department of the organising committee, said young volunteers faced unprecedented challenges. “They have to learn how to cope with the stress caused by epidemic control measures and working in cold weather. Those conditions are even new to the organisers.”

All volunteers are required to enter the clos ed-loop management system, where they can only move between Games venues on dedicated transport.

Zhang said the volunteers’ jobs can at times seem trivial and repetitive, so she hopes they can learn to perform under pressure.

“Attention to detail is also important for volunteers because they directly serve foreign athletes, reporters and guests. What’s more, they can help the world better understand China.”


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