Today we join the World in honoring and respecting all volunteers around the globe, but especially the ones who are a part of our handball family. For this year’s Volunteer Recognition Day we talked with Duje Tokic, a young man from the basketball town Zadar who gained valuable volunteering experience working on the events such as Adria Tour, Wings for Life World Run and SEHA Final 4. His favourite handball player is Igor Vori, but if you want to find out more about Duje, keep reading. Therefore, enjoy your read and don’t forget, volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.
Can you tell us something about yourself?
I’m Duje Tokic, I’m 16 years old and I live with my family in Zadar. I play basketball in basketball club Diadora. I am going to the Stanko Ožanić Agricultural School in Zadar. In my free time I really like to volunteer at the big events like the SEHA Final 4.
Do you like any sport?
I like basketball and of course handball. But, I am watching handball only when the Croatian national team plays or when the final tournaments like the SEHA Final 4 are held. I remember, I watched the match Croatia vs Japan in 2008 at the opening of SC Visnjik. It was many years ago, but that match remained in my memory. I have been following basketball since I was a child because I live in the city of basketball, Zadar. I mostly watch NBA, EuroLeague and matches of our regional league – ABA League. My top three handball clubs are Barca, PSG and PPD Zagreb, whose team I had the opportunity to meet at the last SEHA Final 4 in Zadar. My top three basketball teams are Zadar, Golden State Warriors and LA Lakers.
Do you have favourite player?
Igor Vori is definitely number one in handball. I followed him since I was a kid when he played in the Croatian national team. He remained in my best memory as well as Ivano Balic. Also, I should not forget to mention Mirko Alilovic . When it comes to basketball players, my top three are LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Drazen Petrovic.
You volunteered in Zadar at the SEHA Final 4. Is this your first volunteering experience or have you had the opportunity to volunteer somewhere before?
I have volunteered before and this was my third big event. Before that, there was the Adria Tour in Zadar with Novak Djokovic, whom I had the opportunity to meet. In fact, I met all the tennis players who were on the Adria Tour except Aleksander Zverev. The second project was a running competition called Wings for Life World Run. I applied to these projects through the application forms that were on the official website of SC Visnjik. I really enjoyed working at these events.
What were your tasks at Adria Tour and Wings for Life World Run?
At the running competition Wings for life World run I was in charge of supplying the runners with water, oranges and apples. On the Adria Tour, my task was to coordinate the spectators to their seats regarding the ticket they had.
How did you become a volunteer at the SEHA Final 4?
There was an application form on the SC Višnjik website. I applied and I had contact with Helena, whom I met on the Adria Tour. I asked her if I could apply as a minor, she said yes and then I applied.
Can you describe your volunteering experience at the SEHA Final 4. What were your tasks?
At the SEHA Final 4 I was a hygienist. I was in charge of disinfecting the playing hall in all places where people moved and where they had contact with each other. Also, this means if people were sitting somewhere in the playing hall, my task was to spray the seats with disinfectant. Also, I had to change the disinfectants and replenish them if it ran out. At the entrance, we had some sponges for disinfecting the shoes and I had to often change them and put on alcohol for disinfection.
Can you describe your typical day at the SEHA Final 4?
In the morning I would drink coffee and around 7 or 8 AM I would do my first tour around the playing hall. I would help anyone who needed the help. For example, I collected balls for teams, I helped with setting up a podium for the winners or I carried the flags at the finals. Basically, I was all over the playing hall. I love working a lot, so they knew they could always call me.
What is your most beautiful volunteer memory?
I would say SEHA Final 4 and Adria Tour, two biggest projects I have been working on. Because I was able to watch and meet those important and famous athletes that before I could only watch on television.
Did you make new friends while volunteering? Did you learn anything new?
Yes, of course I have met a lot of interesting people, but I must mention, Marin Svalina. I am still in contact with him today. Also, I gained a lot of important experience. Mostly my job at the SEHA Final 4 and Adria Tour was the same, but it was very interesting for me. When it comes to other volunteers, I only stayed in contact with Darian. I know him from my basketball matches because he is often our referee.
What would you say to everyone who has a desire to volunteer?
If they want to, they should definitely apply without fear. Volunteering is a great experience where you will meet so many interesting people who are friendly and they will always help you if you don’t know something. So apply without fear! In the future, I hope I will have the opportunity to again volunteer on such big and important projects.