Panaji: There has been an overwhelming response to the call for volunteers at the ongoing 37th National Games in Goa. Thousands of college-goers and sports enthusiasts have registered to take part in the Nationals as volunteers, which according to many of them is a “unique celebration of a lifetime.”
For the first time ever, Goa, touted as the beach capital of India, is shouldering an immense responsibility of hosting the National Games, considered as a perfect launchpad for hundreds of budding athletes to showcase their skills and talents.
The volunteers, therefore, many of whom are as young as 18, wanted to be part of this historic event and introduce their state to the visitors beyond its tag as the popular tourist and party destination.
The thousands of volunteers hailing from almost all districts in Goa share a single goal: to bring joy to everyone at the event.
Sunil, a media volunteer hailing from Margao, has been making everyone feel comfortable with his disarming smile at the Colva Beach, which hosted the Beach Football event.
“I was very excited when my college selected me to serve as a volunteer. This is the first time Goa is hosting an event like the National Games. So, I did not think twice when the circular was issued by the Goa University in the first week of October” Sunil said.
Shedding light on the selection process of the volunteers, Sunil said, “Out of 250 students from our college, only 100 were selected to serve as volunteers.”
“I had prior experience of working as a volunteer in one the music concerts in Goa. On top of that, I cannot live without sports. So, my experience as a volunteer and my passion for sports played a big role.
“Interestingly, our college has decided to reward us with extra credit points during the semester exam. So, that’s an extra motivation for all of us to work even harder,” he added.
Firdouse Mujawar who was deployed as an ACT volunteer at Goa Engineering College, which hosted Archery, said, “It has been a life-long cherishing moment for me as I never been part of such a big sporting event and this experience will surely help improve my social skills. Also, this brought me an opportunity to interact with amazing people like Hon’ble Sports Minister, Goa, Mr. Govind Gaude, Tamil actor, Shihan Hussaini and many famous athletes like Deepika Kumari who have achieved so much in their lives.
“A Fulfilling Experience So Far”
While each venue has hundreds of volunteers, the bigger responsibility falls on the shoulder of the Volunteer Manager (VM) who has to ensure that everything is well on track and the volunteers are properly guided as well.
“The task of a VM is like a captain of the ship. With so much logistics to take care of, we must ensure that there are no loose ends at all,” said Rishav Sharma, the Volunteer Manager at the Colva Beach venue.
“There is a lot of legwork and round-the-clock planning. That said, it has been a very fulfilling experience so far in working with these immensely hardworking volunteers,” Sharma added.
Paid Internship Opportunity, Monetary Benefit for Many
For Claude Beranza, a second-year student of Bachelor of Commerce at the St. Xavier’s College in Mapusa, the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in the National Games came in the form of a paid internship.
“I can even showcase my 15-day experience on my CV upon completing my graduation. So, I really want to give my best and make it a memorable affair,” said Claude, a volunteer at the Peddem Indoor Sports Complex in Mapusa.
“To meet so many people from walks of life, and most importantly the athletes, it has been a fantastic experience so far.
“As far as the selection criteria is concerned, the Physical Education department announced the same and only nine of us from our college got selected eventually. The day-to-day task involves coordinating with the stakeholders, liaising with the concerned people at the venue, taking care of the media lounge, and any other activities that come along the way,” he added.
The Volunteers at the National Games Goa 2023 overall, have really made every moment worth it and have been their very heartbeat.