World Cup volunteer-Amrit Daya sets world record
NELSON MANDELA BAY, South Africa -- Amrit
Daya, 79, of Malabar in the Bay, who has been on retirement
for 16 years, became a Fifa volunteer at the 2010 World Cup,
where he was responsible for meeting all Fifa delegates and
VIPs at the Port Elizabeth Airport , setting the world record for the Oldest
World Cup volunteer. Photo: Amrit Daya, the oldest
volunteer at the 2010 Fifa World Cup Photo: 2010
Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committee (enlarge
He was the oldest of 67 999 volunteer applicants
from over 170 countries who applied for the tournament, offering
his services as a welcome and information services volunteer.
A healthy and active Daya, who has
been on retirement for 16 years, has become quite a celebrity
since he became a Fifa volunteer.
“I’ve been on CNN, BBC, SATV, e.tv,
AFP, Reuters and Morning Live, and that is just the television
side of things. I’ve been in newspapers and on websites all
over the world,” said Daya, who was 79 when the World Cup
was on. He turned 80 on July 18.
“I am very fit and healthy.
I think with my interview (to become a volunteer) they expected
an old man with a beard and a stick, but I sure surprised
them,” he quipped.
He decided to become a volunteer as he
had been involved with community and charitable work since
his retirement. “I thought this was a way to step it up a
bit. A moment like this will definitely not come my way again.”
His World Cup experience lead to various
“golden moments in his golden years”, he said. “Not only did
I do my bit for the tournament, I also turned 80 on the same
day as Nelson Mandela. I celebrated my 60th wedding anniversary,
my wife’s 77th birthday, my son’s 50th birthday and my granddaughter
Daya said he attributed his longevity to
regular yoga sessions and breathing exercise.
He set some criteria for those who wanted
to break his World Cup record. “I always joke that you have
to be able to exercise daily, wash and polish your car and
be a teetotaler.”