SEA Games 2015: 17,000 volunteers all trained, set to go

Despite suffering from a progressive, degenerative genetic disease called Spinocerebellar atrophy that confines him to a wheelchair, Edwin Koh had no qualms about volunteering as a photographer for the SEA Games when he was approached by a fellow volunteer last year.

And the 36-year-old administrator and amateur lensman is determined to give it his best shot and has been doing his homework to help him deliver crisp images of the athletes.

He said: "I've been learning in the past months the rules (of the sports), how they play, the players' positions, so that I will know how to capture them.

"I like photography and I heard from a friend that they were looking for volunteer photographers so I sent in my portfolio and was selected. I'm very excited to be a part of the SEA Games."

Koh, who will be snapping at the netball, volleyball, fencing and billiards events, was among the thousands of Games volunteers who collected their uniforms and accreditation passes at the F1 Pit Building yesterday.

Since the process started on Friday, about 6,000 of the 17,000 registered volunteers had collected their gear by yesterday afternoon.

All volunteers had attended compulsory training since last September. In total, more than 220 sessions were organised across all 29 areas of Games operations.

Singapore South-east Asian Games Organising Committee chief of games and manpower engagement Muhammad Rostam Umar said the volunteers, known as Team Nila, will have access to competition venues to support Team Singapore and regional athletes when not on duty, subject to seat availability.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong was also at the collection centre yesterday to meet the volunteers.

After receiving his accreditation pass from him, volunteer Zaher Wahab said: "We're only 27 days away now. Volunteers, officials and staff have all worked hard to get to this point - from preparations to training.

"Being part of the Games is a huge thrill and seeing everyone in Team Nila's purple, pumped up and ready to go, is a clear sign that we're ready."

This article was first published on May 10, 2015.
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