More than 1,000 volunteers work right now at the Masters tournament. Every day they eagerly assist the athletes and spectators in everything they need while their happy and smiley faces create an incredible atmosphere at the competitons. Rezeda Apacheva, one of the Masters tournament volunteers, spoke about her job and what motivates her to work as a volunteer.
– What attracts you to working as a volunteer?
– I’ve been volunteering since the 2013 Summer Universiade and you know it sort of has grown into passion. I’ve taken a three-week leave right before the World Championships and the Masters tournament. From the very beginning I’ve been working with the FINA Family, attending the Opening Ceremony and every single diving event.
– What does a volunteer do during the Championships?
– The main idea of being a volunteer is to create a festive atmosphere, an atmosphere of hospitality. Volunteers are everywhere, they meet spectators in the street, help them to pass security stations and show them the most convenient entrance. On the premises, we usually show them around, help them locate their seats, explain where the cafes and restrooms are, tell them about the upcoming events and results, answer their questions, ensure the order on the stands and encourage spectators to cheer for competitors. We dance and applaud. And what is more important is that we do everything with happy smiles on our faces.
– Right now competitions of the Masters tournament are underway. Is it inspiring to work at this tournament as well?
– To be honest, I did not expect it to be so much fun. First of all, there are so many age groups; I mean the athletes from 25 till 100 years old are competing at the Masters tournament. There are not only senior citizens and former champions, there are also young athletes starting from 25 years old. The first day of competitions was pretty calm and it seemed that the stands won’t be as full as during the main event. However, today’s competitions proved the opposite. The spectator turnout was incredible – so many people came to support oldtimers! For instance, some mature athletes walk with a cane but as soon as they reach a swimming pool and get into the water they transform and you can see that they have a huge zest for life. Imagine the picture: one swimmer has already finished a race pretty fast, whereas other competitor swims without haste and spectators support him, applaud him and wait until he finishes the race. The Masters tournament turned out to be a very significant event bringing a lot of foreigners together and providing us with a multicultural communication.
– Do you have time to interact with the athletes?
– The most important thing is that our athletes sometimes become spectators. They watch the competitions either before their start or afterwards. We communicate with them before and after. They like the organisation of the event, our city. All in all, they are very nice people.
– What is the major motivation in your work?
– First of all, I am a Masters athlete in the 45-50 age group. I have been doing sport all my life, I went swimming professionally till I turned 17, since then I have always kept fit and I still go swimming. Watching these people, I realise there is something to strive for. Both my peers and people older than my mom’s age are competing here. I have always thought when I become 70, what am I going to do? Now I know I will participate in the Masters tournaments. I will be training and catching up with other competitors for the European championships next year, the Budapest 2017 World Championships. I will continue to follow the life hythm I am leading now. What’s more I am highly motivated by the fact that I’m part of this event, that I’ve poured my heart and my soul into its success. It’s rewarding when I see the athletes and visitors smile me back.
– What would you wish the athletes who are yet going to compete?
– The most important thing is not the destination, but the journey. It’s great that they come together and always stay strong. They don’t worry about their health that might let them down, though they sometimes come out of the pool and have their blood pressure tested. They have problems, but I wish them to have enough energy to perform in all the competitions they have applied for. I wish they all victory!
Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships
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