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2017 Invictus Games Champions – Georgia – A Great Story!

Yesterday the Georgian Sitting Volleyball Team made history at the Invictus Games in Toronto Canada, by winning the gold medal.  And their story is a good one.

In 2014, seven Georgian servicemen formed the sitting volleyball squad for the Invictus Games in London.  This was when Richard Osborne became involved with them, quite by chance, by working with the team for some pre-competition training.

Since then, the Georgian team has been steadily improving, and from a fourth place finish in 2014, the team moved to the Bronze medal position in 2016, and ultimately to Gold in 2017.  The team has come to be considered the National Sitting Volleyball Team, and is very well-known in the country.

Over that time, Richard had become more involved with the team (see articles an video at the end of this story), and had also brought World ParaVolley Sport Director Denis Le Breuilly into the picture.  The two worked together to hatch a plan to further support the Georgian program, which culminated in World ParaVolley sourcing a volleyball net and post system that ultimately would be donated to the Georgian program.  But how to get the heavy system to Georgia?  Richard then went to work to get the UK Royal Air Force to include the net and post system on one of their operation’s flights to Georgia.

In early September 2017 the equipment transfer took place, amidst a wonderful handover ceremony!

Here are some pictures of the handover ceremony.

Defence Attaché Lt Col Dave Ethell hands over the sitting volleyball equipment to Zaal Kapanadze, Georgian Deputy Minister for Defence

To read more about Richard’s story as a sitting volleyball coach, visit this article courtesy of Volleyball England.

And to read even more about Richard and his remarkable connection with the Georgian Team, please view this video from the Invictus Games.