Hawick sport science student wins Olympic football role

Games Maker Samantha Nichol from Hawick with George Thomson, CEO of Volunteer Development Scotland.
Games Maker Samantha Nichol from Hawick with George Thomson, CEO of Volunteer Development Scotland.

A HAWICK student is looking to make her mark on the Olympics this summer after gaining a place on the organising team.

Former high school pupil Samantha Nichol, 21, will help co-ordinate the football events at Hampden Park as part of the Games Maker London 2012 scheme.

Samantha is in her third year at Napier University, Edinburgh, where she is studying for a BSc in sports science. She aims to go in to teaching PE at primary school level and will volunteer as a member of the arrivals and departures team at Scotland’s national football stadium.

“Just being part of the Olympics is something that excites me,” she said. “I’ll be welcoming people into Glasgow and will be situated at the airport and at the venue itself.

“I saw the scheme advertised on TV and just decided to go on the internet and have a look at the questionnaire to apply for it. Before I knew it, they had asked me to interview. I was really excited, as many people would not have reached that stage.

“I consider myself quite a bubbly person and always have a smile on my face, so that probably helped me.

“We’ve had our first orientation meeting, and we have not been told what we’ll be doing specifically, but we were shown examples of jobs that other people are doing, such as transportation – making sure buses take the athletes to the right places.”

The under-23 football event begins two days before the Olympics opening ceremony in London at the end of July. Hampden Park will host eight football matches during the games and more than 200 volunteers like Samantha will work at the venue.

“I’m in Glasgow working with the football teams, which will be interesting. I do sports science so I look into all different sports and because football is such an important sport in Britain, a lot of my contacts are in football.

“Other than that, I love watching the hockey, so I’ll make sure I record that, and I’m looking forward to the athletics and Usain Bolt.”

Samantha is one of about 1,000 volunteers from Scotland who will assist in the running of the Olympics. Around 220 of those will work at Hampden Park across 48 different roles and delivering 5,000 volunteer hours.

George Thomson, CEO of Volunteer Development Scotland, says the likes of Samantha have an integral role to play in the success of the games

He said: “It’s going to be a big couple of years for Scotland on the international stage, with London 2012 football events at Hampden Park and then the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“Volunteers will play a huge part helping to deliver both events and in giving a warm Scottish welcome to the world. It’s fantastic to meet some of these dedicated individuals at the first training event in Glasgow today.”