By Tom Degun

russian volunteers_05-10-11October 5 - London 2012 are set to select over 100 of the best Russian volunteers to work at the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year as part of the Eastern European country's preparation for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

The selection of the volunteers for London will be undertaken during the first volunteer movement rally, which opened today in the city of Sochi.

The volunteer recruitment for Sochi 2014 is handled via 26 volunteer centres located at established school facilities across Russia, with the first volunteer movement rally expected to see 250 volunteers from 14 regions the country in attendance at the centres.

In total, the top 104 people from the rally will be selected to form the Russian volunteer team for London 2012, with 80 set to work at the Olympic Games and 24 at the Paralympic Games.

A delegation led by the head of the London 2012 volunteer system Andrew Newman have arrived in Sochi for the rally to supervise the selection of the 104 Russian volunteers.

Once selected, the 104 individuals will join up with the 70,000-strong volunteer force that will help the athletes and visitors at the London 2012 Games, gaining valuable expertise and experience they are expected to transfer Sochi two years later.

Following London 2012, they will also share the knowledge they gain in the English capital with their colleagues from the 26 volunteer centres.

Dmitry Chernyshenko_with_Sochi_2014_volunteers"Sochi 2014 volunteer centres will start massive recruitment of volunteers in February 2012 - two years prior to the Games," said Dmitry Chernyshenko (pictured), President and chief executive of Sochi 2014.

"The 'golden hundred' of the Sochi 2014 volunteers baptised by the London Games will become a good human resource basis for the volunteer centres.

"I'm sure that these youngsters will not only add their experience but also the Olympic drive to organising and holding the Sochi Games."

Although only the top 104 candidates will go to London 2012, the rally's main goal is to develop a sense of involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic Games among the volunteers and to cultivate leadership skills among the volunteer movement participants.

"We will be the first Organising Committee in the history of Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to provide a large scale Games-time test to our volunteers' performance prior to their exposure at Sochi 2014," continued Chernyshenko.

"The London Olympic Games will comprise lots of functional areas of volunteers' activity - from meeting the guests at the airport to assisting at the Closing Ceremony of the Games.

"Taking into account the wide range of tasks, the London 2012 Organising Committee imposes high demands upon future volunteers.

"They have to possess lots of skills: be multilingual, team-oriented, command basic knowledge on the Olympic family and many other things."

The rally will also see a programme filled with training sessions, contests and seminars for the participants led by a professional team of trainers and organisers.

During the "Olympic Induction" interactive programme, participants are to be familiarised with the history and values of the Olympic Movement, while the "Ideal Leader" scheme is entirely dedicated to various training sessions familiarising the volunteers with the notions of leadership and individual effectiveness.

In addition, the volunteers will have a tour around the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic venues.

The volunteer programme is one of the most ambitious projects for the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, with an estimated 25,000 volunteers set to be involved during the Games in Sochi in more than 20 areas of activity.

Altogether, the volunteers make up around 30 per cent of the total workforce of the Games, with the mass recruitment of volunteers for the event set to get underway on February 7, 2012.

Information on volunteer selection criteria, as well as application forms, will be on the Sochi 2014 official website in November 2011.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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