What we did this summer!
Mollie Stentiford (Class of 2019) and Amalia Morris (Class of 2021) had an exciting summer working as volunteers at the Commonwealth Games. They had applied to become part of the ‘Commonwealth Collective’, a group of 13,000 volunteers who work across various roles throughout the games period.
Mollie and Amalia were selected to be part of the anti-doping committee, assisting with doping control across the Games. Mollie said “It was a once in a lifetime experience and everything I hoped it would be when I originally applied for the role” with Amalia saying “as well as volunteering, I was lucky enough to be able to watch some of the Games from some of the best seats in the house, and meet some of the most talented athletes in the World! It was the most amazing experience”.
Amalia took a gap year when she left school, and this September will be going to the University of Newcastle, to study medicine.
“During my gap year, I worked a couple of jobs one being a workshop host for Medical Mavericks, who have hosted workshops at Trent College in the past. We travelled around the UK educating and advocating for people to consider a future within the NHS.”
Amalia also contributes to the Medical Mavericks termly science newsletter, writing blogs on various current topics. She also works as bank staff at her local phlebotomy clinic and undertakes science tutoring in biology and chemistry, so it is no wonder that she was thrilled to have been offered not only the opportunity to work at the Commonwealth Games but to be a member of the anti-doping committee.
“It was a really amazing experience! As soon as I knew that the 2022 Commonwealth Games were going to be held in Birmingham I began searching for ways to get involved. I am really interested in sport and just wanted to be able to be a part of a major sporting event in whatever capacity I could, whilst also being able to see it from a different perspective to that of spectators.”
“Prior to the games we had two training days. This allowed me to meet some of my new colleagues and learn what my role involved.”
“I was mainly based at Birmingham Arena where the gymnastics was being held. On my first shift, my training was quickly put to the test. However, the specialist team around me gave advice and direction when needed, to ensure I did my role correctly. I learnt that doping control officers are often first in and last out at most sporting events, with my first shift finishing well after midnight! Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my time working as an Anti-doping Chaperone as it allowed me to see sport from a completely different perspective.”
“I was able to see a lot more of what goes on behind closed doors at major sporting events and the dedication and commitment of all athletes involved.”
“At the end of the games a party was hosted for all Volunteers, in Digbeth, which was the perfect end to an unforgettable experience.”
“Looking forward I am hoping to volunteer for more events like Birmingham 2022 such as the 2024 Paris Olympics and Wimbledon 2023.”
In the meantime, Amalia is looking forward to heading off to Newcastle, joining the Freshers’ activities, setting up her accommodation and preparing for her medical studies “The insight into anti-doping was so interesting and has got me thinking more about sports medicine in the future especially since I was able to speak to the team doctor, of various national teams, and find out what they do as well!”.
Mollie had been studying Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at the University of Birmingham when she applied to the Commonwealth Games.
“Volunteering with the Commonwealth Games was a once in a lifetime experience and everything I hoped it would be when I originally applied for the role.”
Like Amalia, Mollie worked as an Anti-doping Chaperone, and she was based on The Vale, one of the Athlete’s Villages. “The atmosphere there was unforgettable, and I got the chance to interact with many athletes and to see behind the scenes of their performances.”
“I worked as part of a small team including volunteers and professionals from UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) and each shift I arrived to a post-it note challenge! I had to find the athlete named on the piece of paper. It was often a challenge as they were not always where they were supposed to be and obviously, we couldn’t ring in advance to check on their whereabouts!”
“I got the chance to be up close and interacting with many athletes and to see behind the scenes of their performances, some of whom went on to win medals.”
“It was the perfect work experience for me, as I’m continuing on at the University of Birmingham to do a Research Masters into the psychology of anti-doping, and the motivations behind cheating in sports.”
“Having the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and in my own University was surreal – especially when the hockey was played on my own pitches!! I have made some great contacts and will hopefully be working with UKAD again in the future at other sporting events.”
Mollie pictured with her friend Katie, a First Aid volunteer at the Hockey venue.