By I. Mizuh on special report in Glasgow
London’s success in the 2012 Olympic Games is still fresh in the memory of anyone that followed the grandiose event, but as the countdown for the 2014 Commonwealth Games is clicking, the host city, Glasgow is already bracing up for the challenge.
As a pledge to offer you the best, our blogger did a snap reportage on how the Commonwealth Games are being prepared ahead of time. He recently made a surprising outing from Edinburgh, which will also be hosting one of the 17 sports, diving to Glasgow, the main hub and attention of the sporting and cultural jamboree.
Starting the short trip from the under renovation Edinburgh Waverley Station, getting a return ticket from the self-service machine and finding a seat on the Scotrail train took me less than no time. Searching a seat and settling down for the 50 minute voyage wasn’t any snag. I was instead worried if I had jumped the gun – if l had hurriedly dashed into the First Class cabin, after taking a glimpse at the cosy seats and the spotless surrounding complemented by a hospitable and smartly dressed train attendance. Hey! I reminded myself that this train is just one of the many that would be whisking athletes as well fans between the two cities; therefore, the standard shouldn’t baffle me at all. It was just a standard economy class, as my ticket gave me the green light to relax and enjoy the services of the compartment. There was plenty to see, admire and appreciate as the train breezed on making three intermittent stops before gradually trickling to its terminus at the Glasgow Queen station.
Welcome to the Merchant’s city
There was no time to waste as I pulled out my camera to catch a few shoots before trudging my way through the baking and busy streets. The sun was blazing outside, as if to say, it’s all going to be balmy and bright here when the XX Commonwealth Games kick up in about a year’s time. However, before I was getting carried away about the exhilaration the hundreds of athletes, team officials, fans, visitors and the locals would experience, I had to board a taxi to visit the headquarters of the games. I have been to Glasgow before on many occasions, but my knowledge of the bustling city is nude or nil, thus, it’s always amusing, to get a taxi ride, especially if you’re lucky to get a chatty cabby who is going to talk you through the tour. Astonishingly on this trip, the taxi driver refused to give me a lift, with the excuse that my destination was within a few minutes walking distance.
Really! I told myself this is an opportunity to save my taxi fare and just stroll and probably to stop at a pub and have a few pints of beer after all, l won’t be driving back. After a few turns left and right, while reminiscing about the games, I found myself in front of the Commonwealth House with colourful decors announcing the Games. Located at the heart of the city and surrounded by pubs and restaurants, if the site wasn’t attractive as I had envisaged, the inside certainly did.
With the countdown on, every minute and second is essential, especially for the organising committee that is working relentless to ensure that all is perfect. However, at the moment, the interest is to get the volunteers that will make the games happen or historic like the London 2012 Olympics. The application process, which opened last January, has brought in 50,000 would-be volunteers all eager to secure a place and be part of the games that would be the biggest sporting and cultural celebration in Scotland. This huge number has been screened and scaled down into half, leaving 25,000 for the interviewing phase. After the interviewing, which started in April at the Volunteer Centre and is currently ongoing, 15, 000 will be recruited or retained.
The lucky ones
The final 15,000 volunteers will be ubiquitous across the 17 sports and will be grouped into three main areas: field of play, athlete services, and international federation services.
Volunteers chosen for Field of Play will assist with operations such as leading athletes and officials entry to competition area; ensuring sport specific equipment is in place and ready to provide assistance in call rooms. Those for the Athletes Services volunteering will assist with operations such as, warm up areas; cool down areas, athlete preparation lounge and distribution of athlete apparel. For the International Federation Services the volunteers will assist Support Technical Delegate needs at competition venue and provide service at Technical Official lounges and meeting rooms.
If the Games Makers at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics offered the utmost that made the games a resounding, success story, the pressure would be even more on those volunteering for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, according to Fiona McEwan, vice chair Commonwealth Games Scotland, because Scots are naturally very hospitable with a great sense of humour there would be no doubt that those selected would form a volunteer workforce to be proud of. In her own words, “a friendly and flexible attitude turns good Games into great and memorable Games.”
The tempo has now been set, and this blog will keep you updated as the countdown tickles down into the D-day.