Glasgow Commonwealth Games revisited
Extract from the diary of a ‘Clydesider’
The successful hosting of an event such as the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer is further proof of the lasting legacy such an event can have on a place. Both Scotand and and its second city – Glasgow have benefited enormously from the positive profile generated from the Games not to mention the sporting success of the host nation ahead of the crucial referendum on Scotland’s independence later this month.
But such an event could not have been the outstanding success it was without some very careful and astute organisiation and there is no doubt that the organisers of next year’s Rugby World Cup in England will also have been taking notes during the Games as indeed they were during an unfogettable London 2012. However one aspect of the organisation of these events that always appears to go unnoticed and unappreciated is the crucial role played by volunteers of all ages who provide such an invaluable service to the competitors and ancilliary support staff.
One of those appointed fifteen thousand volunteers in Glasgow, known as ‘Clydesiders’, was eighteen year old Owen Williams from north Wales. Owen, who is about to begin his first year in Liverpool John Moore’s University, decided to join the queue of 50,000 hopeful ‘Clydesider’ applicants for such a role early last year. He is a keen sports fan and since his mother Margaret is Brummie Irish, is also a fanatical Birmingham City supporter as well as being a loyal follower of the Welsh national rugby and soccer teams. His father Daffydd is a native of Colwyn Bay and Owen also has two younger twin sisters Megan and Ffion.
Inspired by success of London 2012
Explaining why he decided to get involved in an event over two hundred miles away from his home in Penrhyn Bay Llandudno, without any remuneration, Owen replied: “I wanted to be a part of a major sporting occasion having been inspired by watching the London Olympics in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was the perfect opportunity for me.”
So how did Owen go about applying to become a ‘Clydesider’?
“My journey began by filling in an application form in March 2013,” and he added: “I knew that the interviewing and training was a lengthy process and that there was only a slight chance I would obtain a post at the games.”
Fifty thousand applicants
There were 50,000 applicants but only half of those were selected for interview. But sadly for 10,000 of those disappointed interviewees that was just the first hurdle.
Just under a year before the Glasgow Games, Owen was invited to Glasgow city centre for an interview to be a member of the Commonwealth Games Village Resident Team in August 2013. But he had wait another two months before he got the result of his application.
“I received an email in October congratulating me on my successful application to the Resident team and needless to say I was delighted and very excited with the opportunity and couldn’t wait to take up my appointment in early July this year.
“Prior to the Games the ‘Clydesiders’ had several training sessions, general orientation, role specific and venue specific ensuring that volunteers were well equipped for their duties during the event,” confirmed Owen.
“Having completed all the training modules I arrived at the Commonwealth Games Village, Glasgow early in the morning 8 July at 7am just about two weeks before the start of the Commonwealth Games,” said Owen who added: “It seemed a bit surreal for me then to imagine while walking through an empty village that the same place would be packed with thousands of athletes within the next two weeks!”
A typical ‘Clydesider’s’ duties
During Owen’s time as a member of the Resident team he carried out several jobs, mainly logging problems or issues with accommodation blocks so that the necessary repairs could be undertaken. Although that was that was their main duty, the Resident team had seven centres within the Games village with front desks. Consequenly there was plenty of interaction with athletes and coaching staff while the games took place.
“I have learnt so much while being involved and part of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,” said Owen who added: “But more importantly I have become more confident in my own ability to carry out tasks and I also feel more confident to confront problems,” said Owen who added: “I have had the privilege to see how athletes prepare bith during pre and post competition situations and have really enjoyed seeing how they focus themselves ahead of their respective competitions.”
So what have been Owen’s lasting memories of Glasgow 2014?
“I have made so many new friends from this experience and involvemnet with the other Clydesiders I met while working and also similar volunteers across the city were also so friendly and certainly were one of the pivotal factors in the games being such a success,” replied Owen who concluded by saying:
“I can’t stress enough how amazing this experience has been and encourage anyone to apply for such events in the future, I certainly will be!”