Major sports events like the recently concluded GAMMA Asian MMA Championship 2021 are impossible to organise successfully without a solid volunteer team.

Whether behind the scenes or public facing, volunteers are truly the glue that hold our events together.

At the Asian Championship from 24-28 August in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, we were blessed to have an eager and highly skilled group of volunteers with us. We sat down with one of them, 22-year-old university student Aselia Bakirova, to get her reflections on the event, from her different roles to her favorite athletes.

Aselia Bakirova, a 22-year old university student who volunteered at the Asian MMA Championship.

Q: How did you become a volunteer at the GAMMA 2021 Asian MMA Championship?

A: “One of my friends told me about the GAMMA Asian MMA Championship 2021, and I immediately sent my CV in. I really wanted to be volunteer in this event because an international sport event like the GAMMA Asian MMA Championship 2021 will further my experience with an eye to my future career goals by enhancing skills such as being flexible and adaptable to the environment.”

Q: What was your role at the championship?

A: “At first, I was volunteering with the help team with the local organising committee. In addition, I was a timekeeper and translator at the Championship. I was very proud to be a timekeeper and translator in this event. Being a timekeeper enhanced my personal skills in terms of responsibility and communication.”

Q: What was your favorite part about the experience?

A: “My favorite part about the experience was being part of the GAMMA officials team. Because we grow when we are out of our comfort zone, and I definitely was learning new insights and ideas about sports events. My second favorite part was the fighters’ emotions and how they showed themselves in the ring. It was sometimes hard to focus on the time with such exciting competition going on!”

Q: If you had the chance to volunteer again, is there anything you would like to try?

A: “Definitely I would try becoming a timekeeper again because in three days I received a few lessons from Indian and Belgian referees who taught me in this event. I want to try to become a timekeeper at the GAMMA European MMA Championship 2021 in Georgia as a member of the GAMMA officials team because this experience left with me only good memories.”

Aselia with the GAMMA Officials and other volunteers

Q: Was there any athlete that you particularly admired at the Championship?

A: “From my point of view, each athlete was strong enough to take first place in the Championship. However, I admired most the Indian and Palestinian athletes because they didn’t seem to be fighting for first place, they fought for the values that each of them got from their community. I admired them because each athlete from India and Palestine produced very impressive fights in the ring.”

Q: Will your volunteer experience help you with your future goals?

A: “My volunteer experience will help me to know where to move in the near future. I was in the searching process before taking part in the Championship, but now I am 100% serious to relate my future career with GAMMA because it enhanced my professional and personal skills. From childhood, I dreamed about working in the multinational arena. Thank you to the GAMMA officials team for providing such a good experience for the youths and spreading the value of friendship between nations.”

The Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) expresses its gratitude to Aselia and all the volunteers who made the GAMMA Asian MMA Championship so successful. We wish them all well in the future!