As we draw 2019 to a close, it is interesting to reflect on the development of World ParaVolley over the past 12 months led by the Board and Commissions. Some activities have been particularly significant and ground-breaking.
We now have new and very positive informal and formal relationships with organisations such as the FIVB, the Asian Paralympic Committee, Beijing Sport University the Invictus Games, the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association and IWAS, all of which have great potential to bring benefits for our athletes.
Our existing relationships with organisations such as the IPC, APSO, Molten, Senoh, Gerflor and QH continue to thrive. This requires ongoing maintenance and development but all of these partners have been very supportive.
We are seeking to establish new relationships in 2020 with organisations such as FISU, the Asian Volleyball Confederation and other universities.
The history of any organisation is well worth acknowledging and recording and to this end we have put together a very impressive team of historians to deliver several history projects in 2020 which mark 40 years since we first participated in the Paralympic Games. They are led by Dr Kwok Ng.
The contribution of past and present World ParaVolley volunteers was recently recognised by the International Volleyball Hall of Fame when it awarded World ParaVolley a “Court of Honour” award in Holyoke Massachusetts, the birthplace of Volleyball.
To acknowledge our history, April 24 each year has been designated as International World ParaVolley Day as it celebrates the specific day our organisation was formally created in 1978.
The Board has focused more on governance over the past year by establishing new Commissions and Committees, (e.g. Rules Committees, Scientific Research Commission, the Athlete Health and Medical Commission and the Board Executive Committee) producing more necessary Policy documentation (e.g. Privacy, Code of Conduct & Ethics, Player Transfer Policy and Risk Management) and revising the Zone Regulations which when approved, with establish the Zones as Confederations of World ParaVolley.
This important area of development has not been neglected as our strength as an organisation depends on the human resources that are able to drive various activities of ParaVolley. Thus, we continue to offer training courses for coaches, referees, classifiers and officials and in the coming year two Agitos Foundation grants will enable us to deliver courses in Europe and Asia.
In addition, we have some new recruits in the areas of communication, legal advice, photography and finances – Anna Tomas, Graham Arthur, Daniele Celesti and Benno Meijer respectively – with the latter being added to the Board in a non-voting capacity.
I continue to be amazed at how willing our myriad of volunteers sacrifice holidays and family time to contribute to the activities and events of World ParaVolley.
At the core of our planning and delivery are the competitions – sitting volleyball and beach paravolley. In 2019 we held all four sitting volleyball Zone Championships, the World Super 6 for women and the first official beach paravolley event in Pingtan, China.
In 2020, not only do we have the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, but we also will run 2 Final Qualification events and the first Sitting Volleyball World Cup in China. In addition, we hope to offer at least 4 Beach ParaVolley World Championship Series events, including at the IWAS Guttman Games in Spain.
On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all of the World ParaVolley family for a great 2019 and wish all of our athletes, members, and partners the very best for a successful 2020!
Barry Couzner OAM