“I delayed a job offer to volunteer at the Olympics”: Shyam Datye3 min read
As athletes sweat it out on the field and legends were made at the Olympics in Rio, a 60,000-strong group of volunteers were relentlessly working behind the scenes to ensure that the biggest sporting event in the world ran smoothly.
As someone who was always interested in the Olympic games, Shyam Datye was ecstatic when his dream to volunteer at the Rio Games finally materialised. Although he was supposed to begin with a job this June, Shyam delayed it to volunteer at the games.
The Manipal Journal caught up with the 22-year-old Mumbai-based commerce graduate, who hopes to make the games more successful this year.
The largest contingent of Indian athletes, officials and Indian volunteers were at Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games. How does it feel to be a part of this team?
It was an amazing feeling. I believe only about 25-30 volunteers from India made it to the Olympics in Rio.
Did you always have a keen interest in Olympics? How do you feel about experiencing Olympics up-close?
I’ve always been an avid tennis fan, but the Olympics and the whole aura around it has always fascinated me! Simply being in Rio a whole week before the games, and experiencing the games madness up-close was a totally unparalleled experience.
What was your work mainly at the games?
I was a part of the Event Services Team, which is mainly responsible for organising and managing the spectators in and around the venue, and to also be the first point of contact for them from Team Rio.
I was assigned to the Carioca Arena 3 in Barra, which would be hosting the Fencing and Taekwondo competitions.
Could you tell us about the registration process involved in order to become a volunteer at the Rio Olympic Games?
I had applied to the volunteer programme in 2014. It’s a long process comprising of long and detailed applications, language tests as well as online and group interviews.
After all this, we received our confirmations and work allocation. This was followed by long sessions of online training, which was both general Olympics related content and venue specific details.
What made you decide to volunteer for the Olympic Games?
My sister was a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Listening to her stories and narrations of her experiences really inspired me to apply for the Rio Olympic Games 2016 and try my luck! I was to begin with a job this June but delayed it to volunteer at the Olympics. I was very apprehensive about delaying my joining date in order to volunteer at the Olympics. Fortunately, it all just fell in place and my company was happy to let me take in this experience just before joining them.
Have you received any financial support for your trip to Rio?
Well, not really. This trip is a self-funded/family funded trip.
How important do you think is the role of a volunteer to the success of the Olympic Games?
Volunteers have played an integral part in the Olympic Games for decades now, and this Olympics saw over 60,000 volunteers from across the world! In the huge machinery of the Olympics, every volunteer would play a crucial role in his/her own little way.
Which events were the most exciting for you?
I was really looking forward to watch Roger Federer play, but unfortunately he did not compete. Apart from that, India’s hockey campaign, Abhinav Bindra, as it would be his last Olympics, and of course, Usain Bolt running the 100 metres final, hold top places on my list.
Edited by Manasi Susarla