This photo taken on Oct 20, 2021 shows the cauldron during the welcoming ceremony for the flame of Olympic Winter Games at the Olympic Tower in Beijing, capital of China. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Volunteers for next year's Beijing Winter Olympics hope their work will not only ensure the smooth running of the Games but also inspire the next generation to answer their country's call.
Last Friday, Li Wanghua completed the latest round of weeklong training for volunteers that will serve in the Zhangjiakou competition zone in Hebei province during the Games, which will run from Feb 4-20.
The 23-year-old Hebei Normal University student said she immediately signed up when the Beijing 2022 organizing committee began recruiting volunteers in September 2020. More than 2,500 volunteers will provide services across over 30 fields during the Winter Olympics.
"The professionalism and passion of the volunteers of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 are deeply imbedded in my memory, although I was only a primary school student back then. It's an honor to have the opportunity to emulate them," she said.
The professionalism and passion of the volunteers of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 are deeply imbedded in my memory, although I was only a primary school student back then. It's an honor to have the opportunity to emulate them.
Li Wanghua, Hebei Normal University student
After joining the volunteer program, Li discovered that the selection process was much tougher than she had initially envisaged.
After completing more than 20 training sessions online, the candidates had to pass a series of exams, testing their knowledge of winter sports and the Games, health and safety, and English-language skills. Next, they were interviewed by the management teams of various venues before being officially approved as volunteers.
"As the competitions in Zhangjiakou are all snow events held outdoors, we also have to pass physical assessments such as 15-kilometer cross-country walking. Meanwhile, cold-resistance training helps prepare us for working long hours in the chilly weather," said Li who will serve at the Zhangjiakou competition zone's medal plaza.
Her role is to ensure all personnel needed for each award ceremony are in place and on time ahead of the events that will be livestreamed globally. On Thursday, she visited the medal plaza, which is still under construction, for the first time.
Although I was only a child in 2008, I was impressed to see the volunteers helping others on TV. I then began to wonder if I could do the same one day ... Now it's my turn to show the world the passion of the young people of China.
Xia Tingyu, Beijing Sport University student
"Although the tasks for volunteers are all very specific and may seem trivial, they are all irreplaceable links to ensure the smooth running of the Games. As our training has intensified, it has become clearer than ever that we will have to shoulder great responsibilities," Li said.
Like Li, Xia Tingyu said her decision to serve at the Games was also inspired by the volunteers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Although I was only a child in 2008, I was impressed to see the volunteers helping others on TV. I then began to wonder if I could do the same one day," the 21-year-old said. "Now it's my turn to show the world the passion of the young people of China."
Xia, from Beijing Sport University, will provide information services for reporters covering the events at the National Speed Skating Oval. She took part in the speed staking test event at the venue in early October.
"The test event provided volunteers with a valuable opportunity to familiarize themselves with the state-of-the-art venue and be better coordinated. Detailed preparations can significantly improve the efficiency of our work and provide better services," Xia said.
She added that although the test event had no audience in attendance, volunteers designated to provide services to spectators at the Games were also in place so they could learn how to guide people, especially those with disabilities.
"The test event has made me realize the importance of volunteers. Our actions matter to the Games and image of China. Furthermore, I want to inspire the next generation just as the volunteers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics inspired me," Xia said.
HONG KONG NEWS