World Half Marathon 2009 organisers seek Setswana speakers

Submitted by Francis Ngwa-Niba on 17 September 2009 - 10:49pm

Organisers of the 18th IAAF/EDF Energy World Half-Marathon Championships to be held next month in Birmingham, UK are appealing for volunteers who can speak foreign languages to help runners feel at home.

Among the language-experts they are seeking is someone who can speak Setswana, the principal language of Botswana, which is expected to send eight athletes and two officials to the Championships, the first time they have been staged in Britain since Bristol hosted the event in 2001.

Martin Mullaney, Birmingham City City Council's Cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, said: "Botswana has a population of less than two million, and its language isn't generally taught in British schools.

"Although English is the official Government language there, we would like to be able to make the athletes feel more welcome by communicating with them in their own tongue."

There is also a need for volunteers with a knowledge of several less unusual languages, particularly Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish and Swedish.

Volunteers should ideally be available to help from Friday October 9 until Monday October 12.

The race, which is due to feature Britain's Paula Radcliffe, takes place on October 11.

Anyone who is able to help - either with interpreting or with one of the many other aspects of the day - is asked to call the volunteer coordinator on 0121 464 0193.