If you’re watching the 2018 Judo Worlds, be it live or via TV or even livestreaming, you’ve probably noticed the young men and women wearing a lime green polo shirt with the embroidered logo crest of this year’s World Championship on their chest. They are polite, they are friendly and they have an incessant smile on their face. And what’s more … they’re very helpful. Meet the volunteers of this IJF World Championship!

“We have established a permanent pool of volunteers for all events that are hosted in the Gymnastics Arena here in Baku,” explains Murad Bagirzade, who’s in charge of the ‘Azerbaijan Sport Volunteers’, as the group is called. “Every time we have an event in this venue we select volunteers from this pool. Anybody can join, but the majority of the group members are students working on their language skills.”

Volunteer Lamiya confirms. “This is not my first time as a volunteer”, she says. “I’ve volunteered at least five times at previous events. I like it a lot. My first experience was at the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017. For me it’s very interesting to be a volunteer. Here at the Judo Worlds I have a similar job as when I was volunteering for the Islamic Games. I work in the VIP zone where special guests are invited, like presidents of federations or former champions. We greet them, show them the way around the venue or to their lounge.” Lamiya volunteers as she wants to use and further develop her languages skills. “Here, I can very much improve my English and the other languages I studied like Russian. I’m at university studying to become an interpreter,” she explains. “It’s very interesting to learn about other cultures and languages. It’s also great to be active as a student and always learn something new. Judo is fun to watch as well. Of course, my favorite team is Azerbaijan.”

“This is my first experience as a volunteer here at the Judo World Championship”, admits engineering student and volunteer Riyad. “It’s great because I can meet people from different countries. It’s a great opportunity for me as a student also to make new friends and besides, I like judo.”

Volunteers are indeed an important and indispensable part of sporting events. You just can’t do without them. Also here at the Judo Worlds. So, kudos to all of them! Thank you for your help and your positive attitude!

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