Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Published on 2014 Incheon Asian Games official blog on October 2, 2014: http://blog.incheon2014ag.com/iag-people/

With the participation of over 13,000 athletes and officials, as well as around 7,000 media outlets spanning 45 countries for such a grand event, another unspoken yet highly important component underpinning the success of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games are the 30,000 people who have been associating in various parts of the Games.
Including volunteers who play a massive role in ensuring the smooth operation and running of this large-scale sporting event, all the people have been working hard for the succecssful hosting of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Now let’s hear their views on their work.
Incheon Asian Games blog writers, “IAG Crew”
Benjemar-Hope F. Flores, the Philippines
- Why did you apply for the IAG Crew?
 “More than anything else, I feel privileged to be given a chance play my part in such a historical event for all of Asia and for my country as well. I applied to the IAG because I can represent my country by covering the games and writing relevant articles to promote various sporting events” – Benjie Flores, IAG crew from the Philippines. He was one of the torch bearers during the torch relay ceremony of the IAG.
Nick Bedard, Canada
It gives me an insider’s perception on how international games are organized. I took this gig because it will give me the necessary experience to advance in my field which is sports media. For me, the 2014 Incheon Asian Games is a big stepping stone.” – Nick Bedard (on the left), IAG Crew from Canada who covers basketball games. He is also the editor of www.basketballbuddha.com.
I really wanted to do something for the Asian Games because this is such a big event for the world. So I do want to be a part of it.” – Diana Huh, IAG Crew from South Korea.

Naoko Dasuze, Japan

Volunteering is part of my life. I receive a salary that is sufficient to live then I have no need to work for something I don’t want to do. Being part of IAG Crew was a perfect opportunity for me because 1) I’m a sports fanatic and had long wanted to be part of a big sports event; 2) I’d been studying Korean for a while so it was a great chance to brush up my skills while doing a home stay.” – Naoko Dasuze (left), IAG Crew from Japan.

Norris Pritam, India
“Volunteering keeps me with the games even though I may not be an athlete, official, journalist or anything. Many people go for sports can’t perform well at the highest level, so volunteering gives them the chance to recall their younger days by meeting sports people and journalists and people connected with the games,” expressed Norris Pritam (center) who is a former national runner from India. He has been appointed as the IAG Crew. In Incheon, he is working as a journalist, reporter on radio and photographer for the IAG.
What did you earn from being a member of the IAG Crew?
“It gave me an opportunity to share the diversity of Asian games. It helped me find amazing friends from around 45 countries. It has been a golden opportunity for me to let the world know about sports, culture and traditions of Pakistan. People in my country consider me a true ambassador of Pakistan in Korea. The exposure is just amazing and I am enjoying it,” shared Fakhar.
“Many ways! Firstly, because I’m a freelance photographer there was no way I could receive a media pass for AG without being part of a media organization, this has given me such a huge opportunity…to be part of the Games, to feel part of a team and to feel totally accepted considering I live in a non-Asian country. I’m honestly not usually a team player; I usually prefer to work on my own, but I’ve LOVED being part of the team, loved having other members to talk to and it’s so special that we all got to attend the Opening Ceremony together…..so many experiences that I’ll never forget and always be thankful for,” said Elisa.
Nick Bedard (left), Canada
“It’s given me a good insight on how international sporting events are organized. I’ve learned a lot of inside information on how things run to make the games successful.” said Nick.
 “The dedication, commitment and hard work of Korean people are indeed a key to success to hosting and running of IAG. I am an eyewitness of the struggle that the Korean people have endured to make it a success,” stressed Fakhar.
Some of the IAG Crew members


Kang Young Lae
I started to work as a volunteer in 1988 for the Seoul Olympic Games. For me, it is for the good of people and countries. This is a lifetime experience in my life. I am passionate towards sports and volunteering. Thus, I applied to volunteer.” – Kang Young Lae, a volunteer for the 17th Asian Games. He has actively volunteered in numerous sports games and received his pins and badges from various countries, as shown on his lanyard. The countries include Qatar, Macau, Iran, Iraq, China, United Arab Emirates and more!
 “At first, I didn’t know about squash. After joining the Asian Games, I learned about sports history and the cultures of India and some Arabic countries,” Kang Young Lae conveyed. He also got to know the development of squash in India and the Arabic countries by mingling with athletes and officials during his duty for the games.
Kim Soo Young, South Korea
Responsibility. I major in politics and international relations in Korea. During these Games, I can meet lots of people from other countries. Every day, I converse in English so I think my English is gonna get better. You know, I really love sports so during this game, I get to know the specialities of athletes and games and all of these are really interesting and interactive to me. This is the first big event in Incheon. So it’s not just for me, but for the city - it will be a great experience for the next international event,” said Kim Soo Young, from South Korea. She stays in Seoul but applied to live in Incheon during the games for her ease of work.
As a matter of fact, the volunteers are striving to provide high-quality assistance in the games despite some circumstances like language barrier, as pointed out by some of the media. Personally, I do find that the local volunteers—especially those stationed at the Yeorumul Squash Courts and Tennis Courts—are doing a great job. I spend most of my time at these venues and see their wholehearted volunteering day in and day out.
Jo Min Ji, South Korea
Jo Min Ji is one of the most dedicated volunteers at the squash courts. Every time I went to the courts, she was there greeted me at the entrance regardless of early in the morning or late at night. She never fails to smile and greet those passing by. This photo was taken at night when the squash events had officially ended.
Some volunteers are encouraging others by doing their best regardless of their age.

Thoughts on the local volunteers…
Diana Huh Dami, South Korea
I rarely had a chance to talk to them in person. However, I saw many of them when I go there to watch the matches. They were kind and helpful. Recently, there is a controversy that some volunteers are not helpful because they just want to see the matches and meet famous athletes in person. However, I can see manypeople are very proud of what they are doing and trying to do their best,” expressed Diana Huh.
They have been very helpful. I was lost a couple of times while looking for the venues, and it was a good thing that I was able to ask for directions from the local volunteers. They have been very kind and accommodating,” said Benjie.
Some of the volunteers have been helpful but perhaps they needed a little more training to be more organized. For instance, at the badminton venue, the volunteers just sit at the information desk and didn’t know how the matches were proceeding, so they couldn’t answer questions that the spectators had,” commented Naoko.
Well, volunteers are there and they are very warm and respectful. But I think they have not been trained properly. Most volunteers are young and have very little experience of working in a big sporting event like the Asian Games. Therefore they needed good training, especially the volunteers who have no clue about sports. For instance, one day at the shooting venue I asked one volunteer the way to the 10m range. She looked at me as if I was talking French or Latin! She had no clue about shooting. What is the purpose of having such volunteers? But it is not their fault,” said Norris.
Kamarul Arrifin, Malaysia (photographer)

They are very helpful, but sometimes it’s a little bit difficult for me to communicate with them,” commented Kamarul Arrifin, photographer of The Star publications from Malaysia.
They are very helpful, but some of them are not good at English. If you can find someone who can speak English, they are extremely helpful!” expressed Tsui Ka Lok, iCable Sports reporter from Hong Kong .
Local volunteers have been great!!! At first they were quite reserved and quiet….but now they are all very chatty and enjoying being part of such an amazing event,” said Elisa Alcoba from Uzbekistan who resides in London. She is covering tennis for the Games.
The volunteer network of IAG is the biggest network I have ever seen in my life. Of course they are helping people as much as they can,” Fakhar told.
Max Lee Ho Yin, Hong Kong (squash)
They are friendly. You can ask for anything from IAGOC and they will try their best to fulfill our request. Sometimes they don’t really speak much, but they provide help around the squash courts,” added Max Lee Ho Yin, the Hong Kong top-seeded squash player who just bagged bronze medals in both men’s singles and team event.
Ivan Yuen Chee Wern, Malaysia (squash)
They are very nice and very friendly,” articulated Ivan Yuen Chee Wern of Malaysia, who gets along well and found chatting with the volunteers at the venue when I approached him for interview. He is a rising squash player who clinched a silver in men’s team event during the Asian Games.
Thank you,volunteers!
I think the most memorable experience I had with them was in watching them perform during the opening ceremony. Even though it is an indirect encounter, I felt touched just by watching them perform as one community in front of the international audience. It is just amazing to see children, adults and old people alike, doing their share in hosting the Asian Games. I know they really put a lot of effort in practicing and preparing for their presentations,” Benjie, highlighted.
The people I’ve met here in Incheon from different countries are really cool. It’s a great experience to pick the brains of reporters from different countries to see what views they have on different situations. I’ll forever remember that,” expressed Nick.
“I haven’t had any chance to get a big help from volunteers directly. However, I saw them smiling all the time to the people and speaking English enough to help people from other countries as well. It was quite impressive to me,” Diana told.
“Last night I left the Main Press Centre at 12:40 at night. There was no taxi in sight. There was a young volunteer passing by. He came to me and asked whether I needed help. He called the radio taxi and explained to the driver the directions to my hotel. I was quite touched by this gesture,” Norris remarked.
Tsui Ka Lok, Hong Kong (reporter) holds a sign that says, “A heartfelt Thank You to all of the volunteers!”
“The volunteers cheered for the Hong Kong team during the football match versus Afghanistan and I was really touched. I am surprised that some of the volunteers are able to help out with general inquiries in Chinese and English,” Tsui told.
“I have lots of memorable experiences!!! I’ve gotten to know all of the volunteers here at the tennis venue pretty well. I have a friend in the scoring office and the girls working in the media room are always sweet and kind. The security guards have been great and everyone is so polite and friendly! I also found the ladies at the squash courts very sweet, too. They kept holding my hand every time they were talking to me. Everyone has been fascinated that I’m from London and that I come here especially to be part of Asian Games,” Elisa shared her experience.
 “There are a number of experiences I have been through with the IAG volunteers, which include asking for the right way to catch a bus, stadium or any specific place and, believe you me, I have found them professional in attitude and behavior. This always makes me proud for being one of them,” Fakhar articulated.
“I did feel the warmth when they greeted me and wished me good luck. After the game, they talked to me and I feel like they were supporting and watching me, so I feel good,” Max Lee told.
“With their support, friendliness, and everything, it’s really nice to be here. They are so helpful and all these make me feel the warmth. No complaints! Ivan Yuen expressed.
Kang Young Lee, South Korea
The foreign media, volunteers and athletes expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the efforts by the native volunteers.
Comments on the Asian Games
On the other hand, a few issues were raised during the interview by the media and athletes were deemed inadequate in the Games. But most were satisfied with their stay.
“The Asian Games is one of the best tournaments that I’ve ever played,” Max Lee commented.
I’ll definitely apply to volunteer again if there’s another opportunity!” Kim Soo Young added.
Volunteers receive small gifts as a token of appreciation for all of their hard work operating the Squash courts.

|The Official 2014 Incheon Asian Games Writer ‘IAG-Crew’ㅣThoong Kit Yee
- Edited by Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee
“Keep up the great job, volunteers!” the writer Kit Yee lastly added with her own pictures with 2014 IAG volunteers. :)


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