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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 10:03, November 17, 2006
Beijing Olympic Games needs special help
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Despite an overwhelming response from applicants, Beijing Olympic organizers are keen to involve more volunteers with special skills as well as those from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and foreign countries.

Since it kicked off on August 28, the Olympic volunteer programme has lured more than 220,000 applicants and 600,000 information seekers in Beijing by the end of last month, according to statistics from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).

The recruitment will move out of the capital city to other provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the mainland from next month. Applicants from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Chinese living and studying overseas and foreigners can apply starting March, 2007, said Liu Jian, head of the Volunteers Department of BOCOG.

Liu said recruiting and training specialized volunteers would be one of their most important tasks as the Games is getting closer. "Compared with non-specialized volunteers, specialized volunteers need to deal with more complicated situations and are of more importance to the overall service level," Liu said.

The enlisting of specialized volunteers, which is to be kicked off this month, focuses on eight service sectors, including VIP escort and interpretation, vehicle driving, media operation, event organization, medical service, reception and accommodation, as well as security checks.

Liu said those people who meet the requirements for the specialized volunteers and have already applied online or on paper will be included in the ranks for selection.

"But the above eight service sectors do not cover all the specialized volunteers that will serve at the Games," Liu said. "People engaged in sectors like information technology, legal service, finance and accounting, and logistics are also needed, and we are going to enlist such kinds of volunteers from universities directly."

"We have been really touched by the enthusiasm of the people," Liu said. "I'm sure we will have no problem in being able to find enough people with the right skills."

After rounds of selection and training, the first batch of specialized volunteers is expected to be decided in March next year. They will get warm-up practice at a series of test events starting in August. Liu did not give the number of specialized volunteers that will contribute to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

It is estimated that 100,000 volunteers - 70,000 for the Olympics and 30,000 for the Paralympics - are needed in 2008.

Apart from volunteer recruitment, the Olympic organizers want Beijing residents to flash their smiles to make the city more attractive to the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors who are expected to flock to the capital between now and August 2008.

"We hope Beijing residents will join in the smile campaign to turn the city into a city of smiles," Liu said. "For many people who will not be volunteers, they are expected to show their good manners and do what they can to make the city a better place."

A test version of smile-themed wristbands for Olympic volunteers was revealed late last month at the opening ceremony of the "Smiling Beijing" campaign.

The "smile" wristbands are a series of soft plastic bands in the five Olympic colours. They are designed for the Beijing 2008 Olympic volunteers, and are printed with the Olympic volunteer logo and the slogan "A smile is the best calling card for Beijing."

The idea for the "smile" wristbands was initiated by the Beijing Volunteers Association. About 20,000 questionnaires regarding the bracelet are being handed out to Beijing citizens, looking for suggestions for the meaning that could be associated with each bracelet colour. Each person who hands in his/her suggestion will receive a "smile" wristband, according to the association.

The final version of the bracelet will be issued on January 1 next year.

"Smiling is a global language," said college student Yang Ying, a member of the Bai minority group. "When foreign people arrive in Beijing during the Olympics, they probably won't know any Chinese. But a smile can express everything."

However, some people think that though a smile is the symbol of Beijing volunteers, you alos have to make your guests smile. Contributing nothing but a smile is not acceptable.

Source: China Daily

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