Several users on social media have shared a photo of a medal, claiming that it will be presented to the volunteers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8. The medal has the word ‘volunteer’ inscribed in several languages including “स्वंयसेवक” (Swayamsevak) in the Devanagari script. BJP member Surendra Poonia’s tweet sharing the alleged medal gained 10,000 likes and over 2,800 retweets as of this writing.

Several others have shared the image.

The claim is viral on both Twitter and Facebook.

Alt News has also received multiple requests to verify the claim on its official mobile application (Android, iOS) and its WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).

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We looked at the FAQ page on the official Olympics website to see how are the volunteers at the Olympics are awarded and found a few things:

1. The volunteers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be provided with a pre-paid travel card worth 1000/- Yen for day-to-day travel to the venue.

2. All volunteers are responsible for arranging and paying for any accommodation that they may require.

3. The Olympics association will not issue any documents or certificates to volunteers once the volunteer activity is complete.

4. The Olympics website also has a list of items that would be provided to the volunteers, the list does not mention any medal.

According to an article by the Associated Press published in 2019, Olympics volunteers are not paid for their work, they pay for their own lodging and transportation to the host city, they get meals on the days they work, some training, and uniforms to treasure. In Tokyo, they will get up to 1,000 Yen daily to get to work on the city’s vast train system and the Tokyo organisers will provide some insurance. There’s no mention of a volunteer medal anywhere, neither on the official website of the Olympics nor on news publications.

Alt News cropped the image and reverse-searched only the circular portion of the alleged medal. We then changed the keyword to ‘Tokyo2020’ and found the image on the American e-commerce website e-bay where it has been identified as a “pin”. It is being sold for US$ 1.50 which is approximately Rs 111.

The image of the pin was also shared by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra on his Facebook page and later deleted. Dr Batra told India Today that he was not aware of the source of the photograph but shared it on his Facebook account because the person who forwarded it to him is “quite responsible”.

A pin available on an e-commerce website was shared by several people as a ‘proud’ moment for India because ‘swayamsevak’ features on Tokyo Olympic medal to be given to volunteers. The Olympic Association does not give medals to volunteers, but only winners.

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc