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My Life Changing Experience through the IOC Young Reporters Programme

Ambassador Saeed among the IOC Young Reporters

I still remember very well that special day, when I received an information that the Vice Chancellor of Sudan University of Science and Technology has nominated me to compete at the first stage of nominations for the second version of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Young Reporters Programme.

I went to the interview which held at the head office of the Sudanese Olympic Committee (Sudan NOC), competing for the nomination opportunity among all the other Sudanese universities nominees. I finished the interview, and they notified me two weeks later that my profile was the chosen one to be submitted to the IOC as the main nominee for Sudan. After a month, I went through an assessment followed by an interview.

The challenge was set at world level, the chance to be there is extremely difficult, as there are only 20 available opportunities for four lucky participants from each continent. And what you get? The opportunity to represent your home country and continent at the Olympic Games, and to be part of the history. 

Ambassador Saeed among the IOC Young Reporters

The journey started in August 2014, seven months after the announcement, and finally, we arrived, at the heart of the Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games, which held in Nanjing City, Eastern China.
I was inspired by the warm welcome at the airport by the games volunteers, and as this was my second visit to China, I knew how friendly people they are. 

Nanjing Olympic Village

Upon arrival, we met with the programme team, and it was really amazing to discover that each one of the mentors is an elite expert in the field of sports journalism. This awesome team includes Anthony Edgar, IOC Head of Press Operations, Lucia Montanarella, Tracy Holmes, Nick Didlick and Professor Andy Miah.

IOC Young Reporters

After that, the training programme has started by a series of intensive training on five main aspects: Writing press using detailed guidelines, writing creative/free press, broadcasting, photography, internet and social media. During the course of the programme and until its end, more than 70 communications product has been produced.

Lucia Montanarella guide IOC Young Reporters in the Press Room

During the programme, we also had the opportunity to meet with world-level athletes and Olympic figures in addition to senior IOC officials such as Gilbert Felii, Executive Director of the Olympic Games, and Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS), and of course, President Bach. 

One of the wonderful things about this experience is having the opportunity to meet with other reporters, youth advocates, and stars from all over the world. In the few days we spent at the Olympic village, we have made friendships which last forever!

IOC Young Reporters

As a part of this elite experience, we also got the chance to explore how unique is implementing the latest technology in sport’s media in the games, such as using Google Glass to cover the Olympic Games. Also, we enjoy using the Yogger very much! Which is a smart device for tracking activities through the games, and exchanging contact information with athletes immediately after touching other’s Yoggers! 

When the IOC send us the programme brief prior to selection, they said: “It will be a life changing experience for you”... in the beginning I didn’t believe it, but after being in the programme, it turns out into real life changing experience, which has huge impact on my professional path.

IOC Young Reporters: Saeed ZAKI & Jade Webster

Having world-class training, making new friends, getting an opportunity to be inside the Olympic village with athletes from all over the world, all the values and the spirit of the Olympic movement that we got from Young Reporters Programme has the greatest impact on me, and I can’t wait to live such experience again to be part of the future Olympic Games. 

IOC Mentors and Reporters

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