Paralympic Volleyball & Court Diagram

The Dutch Sports Committee first introduced sitting volleyball for locomotor-disabled individuals in 1956.  International competition began in 1967, but it would be 1978 before the International Sports Organization for the Disabled (ISOD) sanctioned the sport and sponsored an official international tournament in 1979 at Haarlem, Netherlands.

The game is played on a smaller 10 x 6 meter court and with a 0.8 meter-wide net set to a height of 1.15 meters for men and 1.05 meters for women.  When hitting or attacking the ball, the player must have one "buttock" or an extension of the torso still in contact with the floor.  Traditionally the sport has been played not only by amputees and people with polio, but people who have orthopedic problems in their knees or ankles.  Often able-bodied players are on the club teams.  Because of the game's quick pace, the use of your hands to move and play the ball, good balance and a sturdy bottom are a necessity.  Consequently, it is not the ideal sport for most paraplegics.
Men's sitting volleyball was introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1980 and has grown to be one of the more popular Paralympic sports due to the fast and exciting action. Women's sitting volleyball was added to the program for the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece.  The international governing body for the sport is The World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD).  Dutchman Pieter Joon founded the WOVD in 1980 in the Netherlands.

Below is the 2008 Beijing China Women's Paralympic Semi-Final Medal Match between Netherlands Vs. USA.  The skill, technique and athleticism of these players despite their disability is not only awe-inspiring but serves as an example that no challenge is too great.  When there is a will there is a way!

Paralympic Volleyball Court ( Aerial View )

2008 Beijing China Gold Medal USA Women's Paralympic Sitting Team