IISM Student Blog On Volunteering Opportunity At AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022

International Institute of Sports Management – IISM, pioneered Sports Management education In India 11 years ago. We at IISM believe that along with classroom learning, on-the-field learning is of equal importance for a sports aspirant. Practical exposure opportunities make these sports aspirants understand and learn how a sporting event is managed. Students accept such live exposure working opportunities to upgrade their profiles which provides them with an insight about the career path they will want to pursue in Sports Management.

The 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, was the 20th edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, the quadrennial international football tournament in Asia competed by the women’s national teams in the Asian Football Federation (AFC). India was the host for this tournament. This was the second time that India hosted this competition, the first time being in 1979. On 28 January 2021, the AFC confirmed that the tournament would take place between 20 January and 6 February 2022 respectively. For the first time in competition, the tournament was expanded from 8 teams to 12 teams. It served as the final stage of Asian qualification for 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, in which Australia already qualified as a co-host. Japan are the two times defending champions, but this time got eliminated in the semi-finals by China on a penalty shoot-out. China went on to win the title, their ninth title in total, by defeating South Korea 3-2 in the finals.

31 students were selected to volunteer at this event and by working at this event they got to experience how such a big sporting event is executed in professional way. Some of those have shared their experience and learning below.

1. Dhawal Kulkarni, SYBSM
A media operations volunteer, I supported the venue administration and account manager in different areas such as managing the journalists & photographers within the field, managing the media center at the stadium, and managed the press conference room for the entire conference during the game was been played. I always wanted to work within the operations of a sporting event, and it was thrilling. The experience for me at this event was very different and full of learning because I got to observe that how such a big sporting event is managed and executed in a professional manner despite of all the challenges around. A big thanks to the LOC (Local Organizing Committee). I learned a lot about importance of communication, networking, team work, and certain professional approach to tasks. All these things that I have observed and learned during the event have helped me gain perspective and made me understand the importance of work ethics and also belonging to a community for future growth in the sports industry.

2. Harleen Kaur Kohli, MSM (2nd year)
I had just finished my internship in September and was looking out for some volunteering experience. This is when IISM presented me with this opportunity to work as a volunteer for AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022, to which I couldn’t say no too. I got selected and was volunteering in the media operations department. Unfortunately, the event took place during the covid-19 situation due to which the teams got divided in two different groups – one group was suppose to work within the bio-bubble and the other was in charge of handling from outside the bio-bubble. Still, it was inspiring to see the young ladies representing their respective countries within the game. It was an incredible experience to witness Samantha Kerr, an Australian professional soccer player (The Matilda) forward who also plays for Chelsea, playing right in front of my eyes. Since I was a non-bubble volunteer, I made sure that the bio-bubble people are not getting affected by the activities happening outside and also made sure that the tasks are executed in a smooth manner. I was alert constantly about my surrounding and also towards my responsibility. I ensured that the flow of information is constant as well and there aren’t any interruptions. We managed to conduct everything from our end in a calm and professional manner with support from LOC (Local Organizing Committee). Volunteering at this event boosted my self-confidence, social skills, teamwork, leadership skills and always open to help in every possible way. So, as I keep on getting such challenges, I will always accept them and perform way better than I did the last time.

3. Khushi Deshmukh, SYBSM
As soon as I came to know about my selection I immediately started with my preparations towards the event. I was selected to volunteer as an anti-doping chaperone and event co-ordinator. I had to live and operate within the bio-bubble for my entire term of work. My first day as a volunteer passed in making all the necessary arrangements and organizing the anti-doping room as per the doping doctor’s instructions. My duty always began 2 hours before the match where I supervised the arrival and preparation of the local medical team, equipment and ambulance. Following that I assisted the anti-doping doctor to check the player’s body temperature and also the climate temperature. During the match, I also kept an eye out for red card players who were taken for testing at half time. As an event co-ordinator, I supervised the cleanliness of the venue, refreshments and snacks supply to the referees and teams dressing rooms, kept a check of the playing surface to search for any harmful objects on field and provided to other requests of the teams and officials. Furthermore, I also got a chance to communicate with the international players in the waiting room and gain insights towards their sporting journeys. Engrossed in preparations during the matches, I lost track of time and my 10 days of volunteering went by in a flash. I feel proud and honoured to have been a part of this grand sporting event.

 

  1. Sabareenath Namboodiri, SYBSM

Specific roles were given to everyone, but due to the pandemic situation one had to step in all the given roles and follow all the precautions. My role was to oversee the airport department, I had to pick up the players from their arrivals at the airport and guide them to the RTPCR test from there to the immigration and the customs. This was truly a great learning experience for me. Being a part of the event crew helped me to improve my communication, teamwork, problem-solving, task management and it also helped me to increase my self-confidence. I would like to thank IISM for providing me with this opportunity.

 

  1. Shraddha Hemantkumar Chopra, SYBSM

My responsibilities being in the bio-bubble ranged from pre match preparation, match day and post-match preparations as well. As an anti-doping chaperone along with competition volunteer my duties were ensuring given policies & procedures are been followed, completing documentation associated with the conduct of testing, verifying athlete identity, verifying sample collection, accompanying and watching the athlete and their sample to the Doping Control Station and witnessing, the processing of the sample by the DCO and athlete, liaising with the DCO and sporting related stakeholders, and, working within legislative and organizational requirements. On the other hand, as a competitions volunteer, I was looking after team services, fulfilling their requirements, assisting AFC, LOC and RLO’s in delivering the match. I was also appointed as a team liaison officer for team Myanmar. I accompanied the team from the time of arrival in Mumbai until the end of team’s official stay. Also ensured that the team adheres to their daily schedules including meal, training, matches and other activities. My journey has been like a roller coaster where I have come across so many new areas in a tournament being conducted and still have so much more to learn. And I have always loved meeting new people and learn about their cultures, and this platform has given me a lucky chance to do so. This opportunity has made me look into many more career possibilities.

 

  1. SHRUTI SREENIVASAN IYER, MSM

My experience at AFC event has enhanced my profession and led to self-guided improvement. At the AFC WAC 2022, I worked in the “Anti-doping team” as a chaperon. My responsibility was to assist the athlete representative, to get the selected athlete by the anti-doping commission straight to the anti-doping room after the completion of a game, to show the athletes and their representatives the procedure of anti-doping test, and help them with all the details due to the presence of covid. From my end I was wearing a PPE kit since I had to be in direct contact with players so precaution was at priority for everyone. The tournament was conducted within the bio-bubble and the fundamental behind this was to ensure isolation of players, volunteers, staff and dignitaries within tight physical location. I was too inside the bubble during the whole tournament for safety reasons. We were alerted for the protocols associated with the bubble concept. Each location was monitored to ensure adherence to regular testing, hygiene measures, physical distancing, and daily symptom reporting.

Learning and implementing various protocols was a first-hand experience for me at this early stage. I appreciate the AFC committee greatly on how amazingly they had planned ,managed and implemented the Women’s Asian Cup 2022 during the pandemic time.

 

A Special thanks to Chetan Soni, Head of Volunteer Management, AFC Women’s Asian Cup India, 2022 (IISM Alumni), PGP – 2013-14 batch, for giving our students this golden opportunity of learning from AFC Women’s Asian Cup, 2022.

 

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