July 25, 2012
When Dr. Bim Sawhney, an English dentist, found out about the need for dentists at the 2012 Olympics in London, he kept his eyes peeled for information. “I was working at Guy’s Hospital [in 2009], and one of my bosses said, ‘Keep an eye out. They’re looking for dentists for the Olympics and there are going to be advertisements for it soon.’ So I kept my eyes out, I saw the ad, and I applied.”
Years went by before Dr. Sawhney heard anything about the voluntary position. In 2010, he started planning to open his own practice in Norwich, England. By the end of 2011, Riverside Dental was up and running. Finally, around Christmas, he found out that he had been selected to be a dentist for the 2012 London Olympics.
This year proves to be a good one for Dr. Sawhney, as his new practice is already making waves – he is nominated as the Best Young Dentist (East) and Riverside Dental is nominated for Best Practice (East) at the 2012 Dentistry Awards, to be held in December. “I set [my practice] up the way I wanted it, and because of the way it looked, it attracted a bit of attention. I was really happy to be shortlisted for the awards,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr. Sawhney will be volunteering at the polyclinic in Olympic Village, which will offer free dental and eye care to Olympic athletes. According to a statement he made in an interview with the BBC earlier this year, 20 percent of the athletes are to have routine dental check-ups at the clinic, as dental care isn’t easily accessible in their home countries. The Olympic Village polyclinic is fully stocked and its medical volunteers prepared “to carry out a full range of services.”
How much time will he spend at the clinic? “My first shift is tomorrow, and then I’m doing 10 more straight shifts. I’m shutting my practice down for those 11 days, but I’ll have to go back [to Norwich] after that.”
As far as attending Olympic events, even dental volunteers don’t gain too much access. “I applied for loads of tickets, but the only ones I got were for the football final!” That shouldn’t be too big of a letdown for a Manchester United and Norwich City fan.
But it’s not the events that he’s looking forward to the most. “I hope I get to meet some of the athletes," he said. "I’d really love to meet Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis (she’s British and our leading chance at a gold medal), David Beckham, and Bradley Wiggins – he’s an English cyclist, and he just won the Tour de France! Those are my top four, but I’d be pleased to meet any of the athletes, really.”
As far as preparing to be the dentist to the world’s best athletes – well, he says, you can’t. “I haven’t done much preparing – I don’t think you really can. I’m just going to turn up tomorrow at half six and see what happens. We’ll probably be doing impressions for boxers’ mouth guards.” Men’s Bantam opens up the boxing events on July 28.
Of course, Dr. Sawhney's loyalties lie with England – but, as all Olympians should be, he’s a good sport. “Good luck to the Americans, and I hope I get to come there soon!”
See pictures of the beautiful Riverside Dental office and learn more about Dr. Sawhney and his Norwich Dentistpractice.
To find out more about your favorite Olympic events, visit london2012.com.