Staging an international tournament like the World Roller Games, with the presence of more than 4,000 athletes competing in 11 disciplines in Barcelona and four other subvenues, requires great organisational effort. All the cogs and gears must fit to perfection to stop the machinery from screeching and harming the event. This is why the role of volunteers becomes increasingly important, as it did during the 1992 Olympic Games.
A total of 750 volunteers will help to ensure that the WRG 2019 are staged successfully. Providing services to judges and athletes, helping with transportation or distributing packed lunches are just some of the variety of tasks to be carried out by the men and women who have been selected according to a single requirement: to have turned 16 by 1 July.
“We have 750 volunteers, which is about 400 fewer than we thought we would need because of the greater availability than we expected when we started the registration process in October. Many volunteers can double up for different shifts or weeks and we didn’t initially take this into account,” explains Mònica Piosa, who is in charge of the WRG 2019 Volunteer Department alongside Esther Puñet.
Most of the volunteers are from Catalonia, where “the importance of its associative and social fabric” is quite evident, says Piosa. But volunteers are also expected from a great variety of countries throughout the world. “There will be people from the USA, Poland, India, Pakistan, Iceland, Australia, etc. In fact, a total of five continents will be represented in the group,” she states. Many of those arriving from other countries are actually related to the athletes set to compete at the World Roller Games.
The volunteers have guaranteed to offer their help to the organisers of the World Roller Games for six hours per day over a six-day period. While others will provide their help to the event on five-day shifts, dedicating more hours each day to make up for it. And then there is the case of volunteers who have offered to collaborate over a 21-day period, commencing before the start of the junior category competitions.
All the volunteers have completed a previous training process, with those living in Catalonia having done so in person and others via phone or Skype conversations, in order to be informed about the needs of the organisation and to express their participation options. “They have shown some incredible commitment. We have people of all ages,” exclaims Mònica Piosa. The average age of WRG volunteers is 26 years, with women predominating over men with a proportion of 70%.
Volunteers were offered the chance to sign up for the area that interested them most during the selection period, but not all expectations could be met. “Almost everyone wanted to be part of the sports events, but we couldn’t assign responsibilities to those who weren’t prepared,” says Óscar Pérez Córdoba, who is in charge of coordinating the training of the volunteers. Pérez Córdoba has already worked in similar positions in other major events, such as the World Swimming Championships or World Junior Championships in Athletics, both staged in Barcelona, and was head of press operations for the Copa América 2015.
“Some areas are more sensitive than others. But there are other profiles that fit like a glove. Communication students, for example, can really help us in the Media Department, just like people with a knack for protocol or marketing issues, which are the most professional blocks alongside those of sport,” says Pérez Córdoba.
The volunteer group will enter into action every day from 6am to midnight. “There are many hours to cover, but we are confident everything will work out perfectly. All the volunteers have signed a commitment agreement and this is already a guarantee for us.” Many have even asked the organisers for a certificate of participation so that they can include it in their CVs, definitive proof of their engagement.