Helping to keep the Games drugs-free

Helping to keep the Games drugs-free
IMPORTANT ROLES: (From left) Edwin Koh, 37, photography volunteer, Zaher Wahab, 33, anti-doping volunteer and Amos Ngah, 18, media relations volunteer for next month’s SEA Games.

He has one of the more important jobs among the 17,000 volunteers of the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games to be held here from June 5 to 16.

It is also one of the most peculiar.

Zaher Wahab, a 33-year-old teacher, will be one of 40 doping-control officers during the biennial event.

His job: To keep a watch on the male athletes as they urinate into a cup as per the doping test.

"It takes quite a bit of getting used to," Zaher said, on the sidelines of the Team Nila (volunteers) distribution exercise at the F1 Pit Building yesterday.

"It's not weird; you just have to be respectful of the athletes.

"There will also be a team manager around during the process.

"Most of the SEA Games athletes are high-performance athletes, so they should be used to the process as well."

Zaher first volunteered as a doping-control officer at the 2009 Asian Youth Games held here, after receiving training from a team of experts from Japan.

The SEA Games will mark his third Games commitment, after also volunteering at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

MEANINGFUL

"I volunteer because I find it meaningful, and I know I have an important role - to help make this a drugs-free Games," he added.

The SEA Games volunteers have been collecting their uniforms and accreditation passes since Friday, as preparations for ASEAN's biennial sports meet enters their final phase.

More than 220 training sessions have been organised for them across all 29 areas of games operations since last September.

The volunteers, who form Team Nila, have until tomorrow to collect their kits, while those present yesterday were greeted by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

Singsoc chief of games and manpower engagement Rostam Umar said volunteer training will enter its final phase next week, when volunteers head to the various Games venues for familiarisation.

He added that the 17,000-strong contingent will have free entry to support Team Singapore at all venues via their accreditation passes, subject to seat availability.

"We don't want them to just be involved in volunteering; we want them to support Team Singapore as well," said Rostam.

"When they are not on duty, we want them to go down to the venues and support the team.

"We want to make this journey meaningful for our volunteers, and something that they'll remember for the rest of their lives."

aakasim@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 10, 2015.
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