Village for many is a place with small houses and fields. ‘The Athletes Village’ gives a very different meaning. The Athletes village for Doha Asian Games 2006 which concluded on the 15th of Dec had many buildings to accommodate more than 8,000 athletes. The village had more than 30 buildings of 5 to 8 storeys.
Generally during such games the accommodation is a cause of concern. But this time all the athletes and the officials were happy about the accommodation arrangements at the athlete’s village.
Food is another critical part, wherein you have to cater to athletes from 45 countries. There were 3 different dining halls at the village ? one for the athletes, second one for the Games workforce or the volunteers and the third one for the VIP’s and guests. The best of efforts were made to cater food to suit different cultures and countries. The dining hall for the athletes was open throughout whereas the workforce and the volunteers had specific timings for each meal.
The Village had a Leisure and Recreation centre for the athletes, which had indoor Table Tennis, Computer Games, Gym and other facilities. Apart from all this, there were two outdoor Tennis courts. There was a Religious centre as well.
After the sports events, the athletes had different choices for entertainment. For movie lovers there were different movies telecasted in a day at the Cinema Hall. There was a discotheque for the clubbers. In addition to this, there was live performance at the open air entertainment arena from artists coming from various countries. For net surfers, there was free internet access provided at the IT Centre.
The Athletes Village also comprised of a Retail Centre where one could purchase the official Doha Asian Games 2006 merchandise. We had a visit on the last day, to our surprise all the merchandise was sold out. "Orry" the Qatari oryx was the official mascot of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006.
The Volunteers and workforce uniform
The uniforms reflected the pride and passion associated with Asian Games and the unity of volunteers and workforce. The uniform had been carefully chosen to illustrate distinct aspects of the Qatari environment: Dark yellow to symbolize the desert sand; Red to represent the Sun: and Deep turquoise, which is typical of the colors of the waters of the Gulf. Arabic calligraphies of the words ‘sun’, ‘sea’ and ‘sand’ had also been woven into the uniform designs.
Each country had NOC Assistants (Volunteers) to work with the officials. The number of NOC Assistants for each country depended on the size of the contingent. India had 4 NOC Assistants and I was lucky to be one among them. As a NOC Assistant I had to escort teams to the venues, assist them with any logistics, transport, accommodation and other issues related to only the Athletes.
As a NOC Assistant we also got the opportunity to march with the Indian Contingent at the Opening & Closing ceremony. And I feel delighted to mention that I got to witness the stunt performed by the Emir’s son on a horse, climbing a 50Mtr ramp and then lighting the Asian Games Flame. The stunt was simply breathtaking as the horse almost stumbled as it approached the top. The stunt has become news worldwide.
Even though the weather was terrible for much of the time as Doha was subjected to dozens of sudden downpours during the games, yet it didn’t dampen the spirit of the games.
All good things must come to an end. Yesterday was the official closing of the Athletes village and all the volunteers of the village were invited to a big party at the Arabic Dome (Guest dining hall). There was plenty of food and a live band played English, Arabic and Hindi music. I even saw a couple of people weeping as they were sad that it had all came to an end.
I personally am filled with memories to last a lifetime. Truly it has been the "the Games of your (my) Life".
We at Mangalorean.com are delighted to extend our heartfelt thanks to Julie Lobo and Neelam Carol Lobo, for your unconditional help, great effort, wonderful reporting and breath taking photographs of the Doha Asian Games from its inaugural day till its grand finale celebration. – Team Mangalorean.
Doha Asian Games Albums by Julie & Neelam Carol Lobo:
Author: Neelam Carol Lobo- Qatar