Athletes' passion motivates tireless volunteers in Bangkok

Athletes from all participating nations already in the Thai capital for the World Para Ice Hockey Skills Development Camp presented by Citi 27 Jul 2023
Two young women next to a banner
Tawankorn Umasa and Chanunchida Younoi are two of the volunteers supporting the Skills Development Camp in Bangkok
ⒸMike Onley/WPIH
By Filip Ozbolt | For World Para Ice Hockey

The wait is almost over as the 2023 WPIH Skills Development Camp presented by Citi kicks off on Friday (28 July) in Bangkok. The Thai capital will host the camp until Sunday (30) at the Thailand International Ice Hockey Arena. 

Athletes and coaches from Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand safely arrived to Bangkok on Thursday. Volunteers and the World Para Ice Hockey (WPIH) staff were there to wish them a warm welcome before they take on the ice on Friday.

Experiencing winter conditions

In total, there are 15 people in charge of transportation, translation, team-hosting and team-services under the umbrella of the Local Organising Committee (LOC). Among them are tireless volunteers Chanunchida Younoi and Tawankorn Umasa who are making sure that the athletes and staff have as pleasant stay in the capital of Thailand.

They are students from Bangkok who attended the World Championships C-Pool last December as volunteers as well.

"For the C-Pool Worlds in December last year, we ran into a link through our university chat platform. The LOC was looking for volunteers and we grabbed up the opportunity,“ said Tawankorn followed by her friend Chanunchida: "For this year's event, we saw a poster and decided to contact the organizers again. This time, we are serving as volunteers, but also as translators from English to Thai.“

With many great memories of 2022, Chanunchida and Tawankorn did not dwell on the opportunity to experience Para ice hockey from the close up again.

"It is great to be here. Last time was fun, so we're hoping to experience it again. Also, seeing the passion from Para ice hockey players when they enter the ice is something extraordinary. They motivate us and are so friendly all the time,“ said Tawankorn and added while bursting to laugh: "Since ice and snow are a rare occasion in Thailand, it is also nice to experience winter conditions once in a while.“

Waking up at 3:00am 

Helping others is a rewarding, but on most occasions, a tough task. Although they were welcoming athletes and staff at the airport with their infectious smile, Chanunchida and Tawankorn were doing it through the day and night in Bangkok. That is why the next question was logical: how does a day in the life of a volunteer look like?

"We wake up really early, at 3:00 or 4:00am. After that we usually go to the airport to welcome athletes and staff, while after that we fulfil their requests such as the food supplies or transportation. We are there for the athletes and staff all the time and help them with translations as well.“

Great cooperation between the LOC, hotel and venue is also helping the volunteers to execute their tasks with ease and draw a smile on athlete's faces. 

"The most rewarding thing is to get something easy for the athletes and make them feel happy. Honestly, we do not feel like we are working. The toughest task is to wake up at 3:00am. After that, everything is easier,“ Chanunchida and Tawankorn conclude.

After arriving to Bangkok, all the participating nations attended a meeting hosted by the World Para Ice Hockey and coaches Emma Poynton of Australia and Espen Hegde of Norway as they went over the code of conduct and expectations for the camp. The meeting was followed by the welcoming dinner, while each participant received a complimentary gift bag.