Volunteers do best to impress SEA Games 31 guests hinh anh 1SEA Games 31 volunteers at Hanoi's Thanh Tri Gymnasium. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – About 3,000 volunteers have been deployed for the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) now underway in Hanoi and 11 northern cities and provinces. They are seen everywhere from hotels where athletes and coaches are staying to competition venues, helping make a successful regional meet.

Among them, most of who were recruited from major universities, about 1,900 are working in Hanoi while the remainders are sent to neighbouring localities, according to Nguyen Hai Duong, vice head of the organising sub-committee for reception and ceremony.

To be qualified, they must be proficient in English and in good health, and have high sense of responsibility, Duong said.

They are mainly responsible for providing assistance to foreign national teams and high-profile guests, directing spectators to seating at competition venues, hosting medal award ceremonies, and interpreting at press conferences, among others.

Nguyen Tat Thanh, a third-year student from Hanoi University, is among volunteers working tirelessly at Thanh Tri Gymnasium where basketball competitions are being held from May 13 – 22.

Expressing his pride and honour to be a SEA Games 31 volunteer, Thanh said it offers him an opportunity to interact with foreign friends and play a part in the meaningful event.

His job is to guide the Philippine basketball team around. He must make sure the players are picked up from their hotel to travel to training and competition venues on time.

“Tired, yet I’m very happy to help international athletes and coaches coming to my hometown,” he said.

Luong Trung Hieu, another volunteer at the same gymnasium, said he hopes to gain experience through getting to know international guests.

Working as an interpreter for Malaysia’s basketball team, Hieu also described his job as a cultural and tourism ambassador who brings foreign athletes and fans closer to Vietnam’s culture, friendly people, beautiful landscapes and great cuisine.

To prepare himself for the regional event, Hieu said he had saved some money to buy English books on basketball so as to enrich his vocabulary about the sport.

Any day the Malaysian basketballers compete, he has to get up at 5:00am to pick them up at the hotel and remains at the competition venue until late to support the team.

During his first few days, he was quite nervous of making mistakes that would possibly affect the event in a bad way. But thanks to encouragement from organisers and friends, he has constantly gained confidence and fulfilled his work quite well.

“It is truly an exciting and brand-new experience for me,” Hieu said.

Pham Minh Thu, a University of Finance student, has been volunteering at Bac Tu Liem Sports Centre where pencak silat competitions are hosted. The good-looking girl has been tasked to assist the medal award ceremonies. Like Hieu, she felt quite nervous at first.

“It was very solemn when national anthems are played and national flags raised,” she said, “so I told myself to stay calm and do the best I can, not to make any mistakes.”

Nguyen Thi Phuong Hoa, Director of Thanh Tri Gymnasium, expressed her satisfaction about the student volunteers, saying young as they are, the volunteers' English command is fairly good, adding they have fulfilled their tasks, contributing to the success of each competition.

SEA Games 31, themed “For a Stronger South East Asia”, are underway in Vietnam from May 12 – 23 in 12 cities and provinces. The regional biennial event welcomes almost 10,000 coaches, officials, and athletes who are competing in 40 sports./.