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2020 World ParaVolley Awards

The celebration of the International World ParaVolley Day commemorates the official start of the International Federation. On 24 April 1981, World ParaVolley was formally created at a meeting in Bonn, Germany on the occasion of the European Sitting Volleyball Championships.

The current World ParaVolley Board of Directors has approved that International World ParaVolley Day be celebrated annually on 24 April.

This year also marks the four decades of participation of sitting volleyball in the Paralympics and World ParaVolley will celebrate the occasion by recognising individuals for their contribution to sitting volleyball.

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POSTHUMOUS AWARDS

World ParaVolley recognises the outstanding contributions of Joze Banfi, Viktor Semenovic Diakov, Mike Hulett, Le Rongrong, Marie-Therese Scholtens, Cristina Riera and Dan Apol, who dedicated their life to the ParaVolley movement. Their outstanding vision, dedication and commitment to sitting volleyball through their field of work had been a worthy cause in developing the sport.

JOZE BANFI (NED)

Joze Banfi was an authority in sitting volleyball. As a player, Banfi participated in several Paralympics, World and European Championships. He booked his major successes as a member of the Yugoslavian, Slovenian and Dutch national team. With his Dutch club he won the national championship several times.

As head coach of the Dutch Sitting Volleyball women’s national team, Banfi collected the first Paralympic silver medal in history. On top of that, the Dutch women became world champions two times in a row in the Netherlands in 2000 and Slovenia in 2002. He helped conquer the European title twice – Hungary in 2001 and Finland in 2003 – and won the Euro Cup in Riga in 2003. The mentor also guided his team claim the Asia Cup in Japan.

He was the head coach of the Dutch women’s national team at the Paralympic Games in Athens 2004, where women’s sitting volleyball was included at the Paralympic Games programme for the first time.

As the head coach of the Dutch club Volleer, Banfi guided his team five times to the final of the national championship and won titles in 2007, 2008 and 2013. In all these championships, Banfi was also active as a player.

The sitting volleyball icon was also active as instructor for the World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD), where part of his job was to chair the clinics he organised in Africa and Europe. Banfi also was the initiator of a partnership bringing together several parties in the Netherlands, including local authorities, schools for disabled, sitting volleyball clubs and the national federation for the good of his beloved sport. With “School on Wheels”, Banfi actively promoted sitting volleyball within Dutch schools. He also advised the event team of the national federation regarding the organization of sitting volleyball events in the Netherlands.

During the European Championships held in 2011 in Rotterdam, Banfi received the highest possible honour of the Dutch Volleyball Federation (Nevobo) – the golden pin – as a token of appreciation for all his work for sitting volleyball in the Netherlands and worldwide. Since a few months, Banfi was appointed as supervisor of both senior national teams, next to his job as head coach of the sitting volleyball men.

Banfi died in 2013 at the age of 58. He was a great loss to the sitting volleyball community as he was well-respected, sympathetic and a passionate sportsman.

VIKTOR SEMENOVIC DIAKOV (RUS)

Viktor Semenovic Diakov had passion for the game and was a pioneer in the development of the sport in Russia.

In the mid-1990s, he headed the team Rodnik of the Yekaterinburg Disabled Club, specialising in sitting volleyball. He achieved significant success with this team, repeatedly leading it to victory in the Russian Championships, and won prizes in European Cups, World Cups and European Championships.

One of his most serious achievements in this field is a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in China. Under his leadership Russian team took fourth place at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Since then, Diakov’s dream was to take the team back to the Paralympic podium, despite the growing number of competitors in world sitting volleyball each year. He was not able to realise his cherished dream as he passed away after a long illness on 10 September 2016 at the age of 77.

MIKE HULETT (USA)

Mike Hulett began his Paralympic coaching career as head coach of the USA men’s sitting volleyball team in the mid-1990s. He served as the team’s head coach at the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

In 2003, Hulett helped form the USA women’s sitting volleyball team. After some early struggles in international competition, he developed his players into a team of medal winners. He guided the squad to the bronze medal at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, which led to him being selected the 2004 US Olympic Committee Paralympic Coach of the Year.

From that point on, the USA women’s sitting volleyball team has proven to be a world power through increased recruiting and international competition. He led the USA team to a silver medal finish at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in China.

Around his coaching, Hulett served on the Great Lakes Region Board of Directors. He represented the Great Lakes Region for junior boys volleyball at USA Volleyball meetings. Hulett was presented the Junior Volleyball Outstanding Clinician award in 1997. In 2001, USA Volleyball honored him with its George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball award.

Hulett owned and operated his own junior volleyball club named Adversity VBC, a club he founded in 1997 which included an eight-court volleyball facility in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

Adversity is the perfect name for his club as it tells his life story in a nutshell. Hulett endured so much in his own life and still continued to be a mentor, leader and example to all of overcoming adversity. Through it all, it is said Hulett cried just once – when he realized that he would never play volleyball again.

Hulett was selected as USA Volleyball’s 2012 Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award recipient for lifetime achievement. The Frier Award is the highest honor USA Volleyball can bestow on an individual.

He also served as the Chair of ParaVolley Pan America for a number of years and sat on the Board of Directors for World ParaVolley as well. He passed away on 9 May 2019.

LE RONGRONG (CHN)

Le Rongrong was the first head coach of Chinese women’s sitting volleyball team. Coach Le participated in the formation, selection and training of the Chinese team and led them to win gold at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, which was a breakthrough in Para sports as China sent a team for the first time in a team event.

He is known as the Father of Chinese Sitting Volleyball. Prior to the Paralympic Games in Athens, sitting volleyball was relatively a new sport in China as Le formed the team with members of the team mainly coming from Shanghai, where the discipline was first developed in the country. He was able to develop the team quickly and produced great results as the team reached fourth place at the 2002 World Championship.

In 2003, his team beat Japan, Mongolia and the Netherlands in the qualification matches, securing a spot in the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

In 2007 coach Le was killed in a traffic accident while on a trip to recruit young players for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

MARIE-THERESE SCHOLTENS (NED)

Marie-Therese Scholtens has dedicated herself to the ParaVolley movement over several decades. She started her involvement with international sitting volleyball as team liaison at the 1980 Paralympic Games.

She has been one of the longest-serving members of the movement, being the first Secretary-General of ParaVolley Europe (ECVD at the time) and in more recent years, the Hon. Treasurer of ParaVolley Europe and World ParaVolley.

She joined a working group established early 1991 in Ravne, Slovenia. This working group was elected member of the first ECVD in 1993. Her tole at the starting meeting in Geneva from 15-17 January 1993 was Secretary-General with the work areas of communication, coordination and information.

She continued her role as Secretary-General until the last ECVD Board meeting from 10-13 May 2013 and the General Assembly on 18 September 2013.

She participated and contributed to all ECVD Board meetings, General Assemblies, Euro Cups, European Championships for 23 years.

After serving ParaVolley Europe from 1993 to 2013, she was awarded a special and well-deserved Gold Medal from the organisation upon retirement at the 2013 European Championships in Poland.

Scholtens died in 2015 at the age of 67.

CRISTINA RIERA (ESP)

Cristina Riera was a specialist doctor of rehabilitation from Barcelona, Spain. She became involved in ParaVolley following her involvement with the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games.

She was instrumental in transitioning the ParaVolley classification system from points-based to classes of MD / D (sitting) and A,B,C (standing) along with Dr. Aaaron Danziger and Pierre Pinelli in 1997. She became medical director and head of classification in 1998.

Together with Jenni Cole and Saro Keresteciyan, Cristina developed the first ever classification manual and classifier education programme in 2001. She was an International Classifier at the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Paralympic Games and concluded her term as medical director after the 2006 World Championships.

Cristina was a classifier and board member of the highest integrity and displayed compassion and professionalism in her work and personal relationships. Cristina passed away in 2018 after a long battle with cancer and left behind husband Dr. Ramon Mirales and son Alexander Mirales Riera.

DAN APOL (USA)

Dan Apol’s officiating profile is one most referees dream of.

When appointed to the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Dan gained the unique distinction of being the first World ParaVolley Paralympic Sitting Volleyball referee to also be appointed by FIVB to the Olympics, for the Beach event. As a Beach official Dan had previously overseen more than 600 FIVB and 3,000 USA AVP matches. As a result of his beach experience, he was destined to become a key contributor to the development of ParaVolley Beach.

Little did we know in Rio that two months later, whilst on the referee stand officiating a national volleyball match, Dan was to suffer a massive brain aneurysm, and died at the age of 44 doing what he loved. His five-year contribution as an International Referee for Sitting Volleyball was tragically cut short. He would undoubtedly have continued to make a major contribution, both on and off court, and been a key member of the referee corps at major events for a further eleven years, until he reached the retirement age in 2027.

Having been involved with volleyball since 1987, in 2006 Dan was presented with another opportunity in his beloved volleyball world, that of volunteer coach for the USA sitting national teams when training in Colorado Springs. Giving back to the sport was something Dan always felt strongly about and when this opportunity was presented, he willingly accepted. So, by Rio 2016 Dan had already been involved with some aspect of Sitting Volleyball for ten years. He had quickly fallen in love with the game and began working at national events to grow the sport.

Like many International Referees he first became involved internationally as a line judge, in Dan’s case at the 2010 Sitting World Championships in Oklahoma. It was then he immediately decided he wanted to become a ParaVolley referee. In 2011 his wish came true as he attended and passed the International Referee Course in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to international duties, he continued refereeing the USA Warrior Games, Colorado Crossroads, USA volleyball Open championships. He was appointed to the World Championships in Elblag, Poland in 2014, before receiving the ultimate appointment to the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Despite all his successes Dan always remained grounded. He was always professional, was highly respected and a role model. It was typical of his approach to life that as an organ and tissue donor he was able to better the lives of more than 50 people.

His life and World ParaVolley career ended way too soon. He contributed a great deal to the sport and would undoubtedly have gone on to contribute for many years to come.

 


PLAYING

World ParaVolley recognises the individuals who have achieved outstanding and extraordinary success as competitors in sitting volleyball.

HEATHER ERICKSON (USA)
• Three-time Paralympian with silver medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 followed by gold at Rio 2016.
• Named Most Valuable Player and Best Receiver at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Earned three consecutive silver medals at World ParaVolley World Championships in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

ANITA GOLTNIK URNAUT (SLO)
• Has been active in sitting volleyball as player, team manager and official for almost 30 years.
• Contributed to the development, popularity, recognition and success of women’s sitting volleyball in Slovenia and the world.
• Three-time Paralympian with two fourth-place finishes at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and a sixth-place finish at London 2012.
• Member of the working group for the inclusion of women’s sitting volleyball at the Paralympic Games.

KARIN HARMSEN (NED)
• Three-time Paralympian – with a silver medal at Athens 2004, bronze medal at Beijing 2008 and a fourth-place finish at London 2012.
• National team player from 1998 to 2014.
• Introduced sitting volleyball to military forces in preparation for the London Invictus Games and worked as trainer of the military team.

KATHRYN HOLLOWAY (USA)
• Three-time Paralympian with silver medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 followed by gold at Rio 2016.
• Best scorer at Beijing 2008 and Best Spiker at London 2012 Paralympics.
• Earned three consecutive silver medals at World ParaVolley World Championships in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

TATYANA IVANOVA (RUS)
• Captain of the Russian women’s sitting volleyball team.
• Started playing sitting volleyball since 1995.
• Member of the WPV Athletes Commission.

SHENG YUHONG (CHN)
• Instrumental in China’s gold medal victory at Athens 2004, where the country won its first gold medal in a team event at the Paralympics.
• Led China to two more Paralympic gold medal victories at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
• Named in the Top 10 Legendary Paralympic Heroes.

IRINA SMIRNOVA (RUS)
• Participated in Paralympic sports for 20 years, including wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
• Started playing sitting volleyball since 2006.
• Recognised as Best Blocker in various international competitions.

ELVIRA JOHANNA STINISSEN (NED)
• Captain of Dutch women’s sitting volleyball team for 10 years.
• Bronze medallist at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
• Representative to the IPC Athletes Commission.

LORA WEBSTER (USA)
• Member of the USA women’s sitting volleyball team since 2003 and is one of nine players to compete in all four Paralympic Games for women’s sitting volleyball.
• Earned bronze at Athens 2004, followed by silver medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Webster won gold at Rio 2016.
• Named Best Blocker at Rio 2016.

YULIYA ZAKREVSKAIA (RUS)
• Played for the Russian women’s sitting volleyball team from 2009 to 2017.
• 11-time Russian champion
• Current administrator of the Russian men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams.

JURATE VERBUVIENE (LTU)
• Sitting volleyball player from 1991 to 2011.
• Founder of sitting volleyball in Lithuania.
• WOVD Board Member as Chair of Athletes’ Commission from 2006 to 2010.

SAFET ALIBASIC (BIH)
• Started playing in 2001.
• Earned eight gold medals, a gold medal and a bronze at the European Championship, three titles and two silver medals at the World Championships.
• Won two gold medals and two silvers at the Paralympic Games.

DAVOUD ALIPOURIAN (IRI)
• Won gold medals at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Earned two bronze medals at Athens 2004 and London 2012

JOZE BANFI (NED)
• Participated in several Paralympic Games, World and European Championships.
• Booked his major successes as member or the Yugoslavian, Slovenian and Dutch National team.
• Won the national championship several times with club team Volleer.

NIZAM CANCAR (BIH)
• Sitting Volleyball player since 2009.
• Won a gold medal and silver medal at the Paralympic Games.
• Won four gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal at the European Championships; one gold medal and two silver medals at the World Championships.

IVAN COSIC (CRO)
• Sitting Volleyball player since 2007.
• Captain of the Croatian men’s sitting volleyball team.
• Biggest achievement  was a fourth-place finish at the European Championship in Porec in 2017.

GILBERTO LOURENCO DA SILVA (BRA)
• Sitting volleyball player since 2006.
• Became a member of the national team in 2007.
• Won a silver medal at the World Championship in 2014 and a bronze at the World Cup in 2018.

SABAHUDIN DELALIC (BIH)
• Captain of the Bosnia and Herzegovina men’s sitting volleyball team.
• Sitting volleyball player since 1997.
• Won two gold medal and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games.

ERIC DUDA (USA)
• Competed at Athens 2004 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Starter for Team USA in four World Championships (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018).
• Selected as Best Receiver at the 2018 World Championships.

MIRZET DURAN (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball player since 2006.
• Won a gold medal and two silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won two gold medals and two silver medals at the World Championships.

HESHAM ELSHWIKH (EGY)
• Sitting volleyball for 30 yeras and member of the national team for 25 years.
• Won bronze medals at Athens 2004 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Won two bronze medals at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

PARVIZ FIROUZI (IRI)
• Won three Paralympic gold medals.
• Won gold medals at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
• Retired from playing sitting volleyball.

ISMET GODMINJAK (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball player since 1997.
• Won two gold medals and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won three gold, two silver and one bronze medals at the World Championships.

SALEHI RAMEZAN HAJIKOLAHI (IRI)
• Won gold medals at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Won bronze medals at Athens 2004 and London 2012.

DZEVAD HAMZIC (BIH)
• Sitting Volleyball player since 1998.
• Won two gold medals and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won two silver medals and a bronze at the World Championships.

CHRISTOPH HERZOG (GER)
• London 2012 Paralympic Games bronze medallist.
• Won a silver medal and four bronze medals at the European Championships.
• Retired from playing sitting volleyball.

ZORAN JESIC (SRB)
· Sitting volleyball player from 1999.
· Biggest achievement with national team of Serbia is 5th place at the European Championship in Elblag (Poland) 2009 and 11th place at the World Championship in Edmond-Oklahoma, USA, 2010.
· Biggest achievement with his club OKI “BANJA LUKA” is bronze medal at the European Club Championship in Nyiregyhaza (Hungary) 2010, when he was the best attacker of the competition.

ERMIN JUSUFOVIC (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball player since 2001.
• Won two gold medals and two silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won three gold medals and two silver medals at the World Championships.

ALI KASHFIA (IRI)
• Sitting volleyball player since 1983.
• Played in four editions of the Paralympic Games.
• Director of I.R. Iran ParaVolley Association.

ANDREY LAVRINOVIC (RUS)
• Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games bronze medallist.
• Fourth-place finish at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
• Two-time European Championship winner.

ADNAN MANKO (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball player since 1997.
• Won two gold medals and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won three gold, two silver and a bronze medal at the World Championships.

LARRY MATTHEWS (CAN)
• He played since he was in grade six in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and then played all through junior high and senior high.
• Coached the men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams in 2008.
• Coached the women’s team while playing on the men’ national team from 2009 t0 2010.

ASIM MEDIC (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball player from 1997 to 2016.
• Won two gold medals and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won three gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the World Championships.

EJUB MEMEDOVIC (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball player from 2001 to 2011.
• Won two gold medals and two silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won three gold medals and two silver medals at the World Championships.

VIKTOR MILENIN (RUS)
• Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games bronze medallist.
• Fourth-place finish at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
• Two-time European Championship winner.

BRENT RASMUSSEN (USA)
• Competed at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
• Competed at the World Championships in 2006 and 2010.
• Served on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors representing sitting volleyball since 2014.

JOSE REBELO (CAN)
• Played from 1996 to 2016 in standing volleyball and sitting volleyball.
• Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games silver medallist.
• Athletes’ Commission Chair and World ParaVolley Board of Director.

SADEGH BIGDELI (IRI)
• Won two gold medals and two bronze medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won gold medals at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Won bronze medals at Athens 2004 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.

ALEXANDER SAVICHEV (RUS)
• Sitting volleyball player since 2005.
• Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games bronze medallist.
• Two-time European Championship winner.

JURGEN SCHRAPP
• Sitting volleyball player since 1993 and became national team captain from 1998 to 2012.
• Participated in five Paralympic Games with a bronze medal at London 2012.
• Won a silver medal at the World Championship.

ISA ZIRAHI (IRI)
• Three-time Paralympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016.
• Two-time Paralympic bronze medallist at Athens 2004 and London 2012.

 


COACHING

World ParaVolley recognises the individuals who have achieved outstanding and extraordinary success as coaches in sitting volleyball.

JOZE BANFI (NED)
• Head coach of the Dutch women’s sitting volleyball team which won the first Paralympic silver medal in Athens 2004.
• Led the Dutch team to win the World Championships in 2000 in the Netherlands and 2002 in Slovenia.
• Appointed supervisor of the senior national teams, next to his job as head coach of the sitting volleyball men.

GENI TUNNEY CANON REYES (COL)
• Sitting volleyball coaching instructor in Latin America.
• Conducted training workshops in Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica and his native Colombia.

JOUKE DE HAAN (NED)
• Coach/Trainer since 1968 and was head coach of the Dutch men’s sitting volleyball team from 1982 to 1992, German men’s sitting volleybal team from 1998 to 2003, Egypt men’s sitting volleyball team from 2006 to 2008, was the trainer/advisor of the Rwanda men’s sitting volleyball team in 2008.
• Sitting volleyball instructor since 1986.
• Former Chair of the World ParaVolley Coaches Commission from 2014 to 2017.

VIKTOR SEMENOVIC DIAKOV (RUS)
• Former head coach of the Russian men’s sitting volleyball team.
• Steered Russia to a bronze medal finish at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
• Last Paralympic Games was London 2012, where Russia finished fourth overall.

MOSAAD ELAIUTY (EGY)
• Sitting volleyball instructor.
• Former head coach of Egypt in 2014 and led the team to a bronze medal finish at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Current head coach of the Rwanda men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams.

ADOLF URNAUT (SLO)
• Actively involved in ParaVolley for over 30 years and has made an important contribution to the development and recognition of sitting volleyball as coach, instructor and official.
• He was the head coach of Slovenia at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and was the assistant coach at London 2012.
• He is the training director of the Tine Urnaut international youth summer volleyball camp, where children from Slovenia, Italy and Croatia learn volleyball and sitting volleyball together with disabled athletes.

BILL HAMITER (USA)
• Served as head coach of the USA women’s sitting volleyball team and High Performance Director for the USA sitting volleyball teams since 2009.
• Coached the men’s sitting volleyball team from 2001 to 2010 and again in 2013.
• Led the women’s team to a silver medal finish at London 2012, then a gold medal victory at Rio 2016 – the programme’s first Paralympic gold medal.

MIRZA HRUSTEMOVIC (BIH)
• Head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1999.
• Led the team to win two gold medals and three silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Led the team to win four gold medals and two silver medals at the World Championships.

MIKE HULETT (USA)
• Began his Paralympic coaching career in the mid 1990s.
• Served as USA men’s team head coach at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
• Guided women’s team to win bronze at Athens 2004 and a silver medal at Beijing 2008.

PETER KARREMAN (NED)
• Head coach of Dutch men’s sitting volleyball team from 2007 to 2010.
• Head coach of Rwanda men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams from 2010 to 2016.
• He is an active sitting volleyball instructor.

JOHN KESSEL (USA)
• Was inducted to the AVCA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013.
• He became the 50th recipient of USAV’s highest award for a lifetime of service – the “Frier Award”
• He was the team leader for the USA women’s sitting volleyball team at Athens 2004, which came home with the bronze medal.

LE RONGRONG (CHN)
• Father of Chinese Sitting Volleyball.
• First head coach of the Chinese women’s sitting volleyball team.
• Led the team to win the gold medal at their first Paralympics appearance in Athens, Greece in 2004.

YOSHIHISA MANO (JPN)
• Active with sitting volleyball for 24 years.
• First Paralympic Games was at Sydney 2000, where he played and coach the team.
• Played and coached in four consecutive Paralympic Games editions; Tokyo 2020 will be his fifth.

EJUB MEMEDOVIC (BIH)
• Sitting volleyball coach since 2012.
• Won two gold medals and two silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
• Won three gold medals and two silver medals at the World Championships.

GORDON NEALE OBE (GBR)
• Has been involved in ParaVolley for 34 years.
• Introduced sitting volleyball to Great Britain 1984 and went on to coach until 1994.
• In 1988 received Coach of the Year award for work in sitting volleyball presented by Sir Colin Moynihan, Sports Minister.

ALEXANDER NIKOLAEVICH OVSYANNIKOV (RUS)
• Head coach of Russian men’s (2017-present) and women’s (2004-present) sitting volleyball teams
• Led the women’s team to a World Championship title in 2018.
• Led the men’s team to win two European Championship titles in 2017 and 2019.

HADI REZAEIGARKANI (IRI)
• Participated in eight editions of the Paralympic Games, 10 World Championships and five Asian Games since 1980.
• Coached Iran in six editions of the Paralympic Games.
• Sitting volleyball instructor.

MATTHEW ROGERS (GBR)
• Helped Great Britain teams to prepare for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
• Started VolleySLIDE aimed at offering guidance and support mechanism to those looking to start with the sport, which was adopted as the World ParaVolley Level 0 Education Programme.
• Supported in establishing the World ParaVolley Level 1 Coaching Course, which focuses on course presentation and connection to Level 0.

CARLOMAGNO SAENZ LOPEZ (CRC)
• First ever sitting volleyball coach in Central America who promoted sitting volleyball in his country.
• Coached the Costa Rica sitting volleyball team which participated in three Pan American Games
• Helped World ParaVolley to organise the first International Level 1 Course for coaches.

TU WEI PING (AUS)
• Appointed as Honorary Head Coach of the inaugural Australian men’s sitting volleyball team from 2000 to 2009, including the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
• Volunteer coach of China men’s sitting volleyball team in 1986.
• Sitting volleyball instructor.

VIKTOR TYMOSHENKO (UKR)
• Over 30 years of experience as coach in Ukraine.
• At the beginning of his career in Para sport, he coached the men’s and women’s teams of Ukraine
• Coached Ukraine in four Paralympic Games, including London 2012 where the team finished with a bronze.

 


INTERNATIONAL PARTNER

World ParaVolley recognises the importance of the productive working relationship with the International Paralympic Committee in the inclusion of sitting volleyball in the Paralympic movement.

International Paralympic Committee
• The IPC has been World ParaVolley’s important international partner since 1980 by offering the opportunity for our athletes to participate at the highest level in 11 successive Paralympic Games to date.

 


REFEREEING

World ParaVolley recognises the amount of work and years of contribution in the development of officiating sitting volleyball matches through modification or changes in Rules of the Game, and commitment to promotion of fair play and development of future international referees.

MATS ANDERSSON (SWE)
• Started sitting volleyball refereeing career in 1983.
• Became an sitting volleyball international referee in 1993
• Officiated matches at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games

JOSEPH CAMPBELL (USA)
• PanAmerica Referee Commissioner from 1994 to 2013.
• Officiated matches at Barcelona 1992 Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
• World ParaVolley referee course instructor and Referee Delegate.

RONALDO TADEU CHRYSOSTOMO CHAVES (BRA)
• Started sitting volleyball refereeing career in 2006.
• Officiated matches at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Para Pan American Referee Delegate.

PIERRE FARMER (CAN)
• Started sitting volleyball international refereeing career in 1995 and retired in 2010.
• Officiated matches at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and was the assistant referee delegate at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• World ParaVolley referee course instructor and Referee Commission secretary.

EBRAHIM FIROUZI (IRI)
• Began officiating in 1993 and officiated at the European Men’s Sitting Volleyball Championship in Villanova, Spain.
• He took the WOVD refereeing course in 1995 and since then has attended more than 25 Asian and world level events as referee, referee supervisor and referee delegate.
• Officiated official matches at Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games; also appointed at Tokyo 2020.

SENAD HELAC (BIH)
• Started with sitting volleyball in 1985 as line judge.
• National referee since 1995 and international referee since 1997.
• Officiated matches at Syndy 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and was a referee observer at London 2012 Paralympic Games.

DARIUSZ JASINSKI (POL)
• International Referee from 1999 to 2014 and became Referee Observer in 2015.
• Officiated matches at London 2012.
• World ParaVolley Observer for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

MAL SOON JUNG (KOR)
• Officiated matches at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• ParaVolley Asia Oceania Referee Observer.
• ParaVolley Asia Oceania Referee Instructor.

FRITS KLEIN (NED)
• Started sitting volleyball refereeing career in 1983; national referee from 1983 to 1986 and became international referee in 1988.
• Officiated matches at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000
• Referees Commission member.

PETER KONCNIK (SLO)
• Started sitting volleyball international refereeing career in 1988.
• Officiated matches at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
• Referee Delegate at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

DENIS LE BREUILLY (GBR)
• WOVD/WPV secretary of Referees Commission and chairman of Rules of the Game Commission.
• Had an llustrious career as an International Referee and Referee Delegate.
• Referee Delegate at major events including the Parlaympic Games.

GABY LOTAN (ISR)
• Became a referee in 1971 and became a sitting volleyball international referee in 1991.
• Officiated matches at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
• Referee Delegate at Athen 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

SARI MANNERSUO (FIN)
• Became an International Referee in 2002.
• Officiated in four Paralympic Games.
• ParaVolley Europe referee observer.

TOOMAS MUROLO (EST)
• Became an international referee in 1997.
• Officiated matches at London 2012, Rio 2016; will also be at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
• Referee Observer and Referee Instructor.

GORDON NEALE OBE (GBR)
• World ParaVolley (WOVD/ISOD) career spans over 34 years (1984 to 2020).
• Became the first sitting volleyball and standing volleyball international referee from Great Britain.
• Officiated at Paralympic Games (sitting volleyball and standing volleyball).

JANKO PLESNIK (SLO)
• World ParaVolley International Referee from 1995 to 2018.
• Officiated at four Paralympic Games.
• World ParaVolley referee observer, course instructor, Referee Committee and Rules of the Game Committee member.

JUAN PONT (ESP)
• Became an international referee in 1993.
• President of WOVD from 2000 to 2004.
• Conducted Referee Course in Cuba and the NPC took part in sitting volleyball for the first time at Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

ANTON PROBST (GER)
• Played 25 international standing volleyball matches for Germany, which won gold at the Seoul 1998 Paralympics before he became a referee in 1990; retired in 2015.
• Officiated in six Paralympic Games, including Barcelona 1992, Atlanta, 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
• Referee Observer at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

GYULA RADI (HUN)
• Sitting volleyball referee since 1982 and since becoming part of the ISOD Board as Technical Officer in 1984, he had been involved in drafting regulations, rules and managing the referee corps.
• Officiated almost 100 matches between 1982 and 1991, including the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games final.
• Referee Delegate at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

RADU ROSENTHAL (ISR)
• Israeli Army veteran whose injury in 1971 led him to introduce volleyball for the disabled in his country.
• Chairman of Referees Commission in WOVD in charge of nomiating International Referees for competitions, including the Paralympic Games.
• Instrumental in growing the number of International Referees in the sport through conduct of referee courses.

KHALID SALEM SHANISHAH (LBA)
• Became a sitting volleyball international referee in 2004.
• Became a referee instructor for Level 1 in 2010.
• Officiated in matches at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

SEPPO SOLDERHOLM (FIN)
• Became a sitting volleyball international referee in 1992.
• Officiated matches at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
• Officiated a total of 101 international matches and 20 national and club matches of national and club teams.

JAN OTTO SOLVANG (NOR)
• Served for 20 years as International Referee that officiated in a total of 138 matches.
• Officiated matches in five Paralympic Games.
• Attended 32 various tournaments either as referee, jury, referee instructor or observer.

TORALV THORKILDSEN (NOR)
• Officiated matches at Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004.
• Officiated matches in Europe and WPV events.
• Jury member at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

 


CLASSIFICATION

World ParaVolley recognises the individuals who have achieved success in educating and training International Classifiers of delivering high quality classification services for ParaVolley athletes. Their professional skills, knowledge and experience have provided the World ParaVolley with great honour as they delivered classification evaluation at the highest possible standard.

LOUISE ASHCROFT (CAN)
• Completed international classification training in 2006.
• Became WPV Medical Director in 2015; role is to direct, coordinate and support three Commissions (Classification, Anti-Doping and Scientific Research)
• Classifier at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

JENNI COLE (AUS)
• WPV Head of Classifier Education from 2011 to present.
• Senior International Classifier 1999 to present.
• Senior and Chief Classifier at over 20 ParaVolley International events for 20 years, including Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

SARO KERESTECIYAN (CAN)
• Became an international classifier in 1999.
• Assistant Chief Classifier at Athens 2004 and International Classifier at Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
• Instructor for the WPV Classification Pathway since 1999.

JURATE KESIENE (LTU)
• Became an international classifier in 1999.
• Head of Classification Commission since 2014.
• Chief classifier at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

INNOCENT KOMAKECH (UGA)
• Became an international classifier in 2010.
• Served as international classifier in over 15 international competitions between 2012 and 2019.
• Instructor for the WPV Classification Pathway since 2013.

CRISTINA RIERA (ESP)
• Instrumental in transitioning the ParaVolley classification system from points-based to classes of MD / D (sitting) and A,B,C (standing) along with Dr. Aaaron Danziger and Pierre Pinelli in 1997
• Developed the first ever classification manual and classifier education programme in 2001.
• International Classifier at the Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

DORA SZATMARI (HUN)
• Started the classifier pathway in 2006 at the European Junior Championship in Hungary, and after four events became an international classifier in 2007.
• Wrote her Masters Thesis about the actual classification system of sitting volleyball at London 2012 Paralympic Games in 2014
• Advisor to the World ParaVolley Head of Classifier Education and also to the World ParaVolley Scientific Research Commission

 


TECHNICAL OFFICIALS

World ParaVolley recognises the outstanding contributions of have seved as technical officials and have shown commitment with their job and shared knowledge of the rules of the sport. Their technical knowledge and commitment have provided the organisation and the events with great integrity.

PHIL ALLEN (CAN)
• Accomplished WPV Level 3 International Technical Official status.
• Jury member at Rio 2016 Paralympic Games; also appointed at Tokyo 2020.
• Jury member, Technical Delegate or Assistant Delegate in WPV and ParaVolley Pan America events.

SVERRE BERGENHOLDT (NOR)
• Involvement in Norwegian Sport Associations for Disabled in several positions, most in work for sitting volleyball from 1971-2000
• Involvement in the first 10 years of sitting volleyball development.
• Jury or Technical delegate in several Paralympics.

GERARD BROUWERS (NED)
• Deputy Technical Delegate at Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games; was appointed WOVD Sport Director of WOVD.
• Technical Delegate at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Attended various international events as technical delegate and instructor.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL (USA)
• Technical Delegate at Parapan America Games, Parapan America Youth Games and PVPA Zonal Championships; Assistant Technical Delegate at World Championships 2010.
• Referee Delegate at Junior World Championships and Parapan America Games.
• Jury member at London 2012, Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

MACIEJ CHODZKO-ZAJKO (GBR)
• Jury member at WOVD World Championships and London 2012 Paralympic Games.
• Assistant Technical Delegate at World Championships in Poland in 2014.
• WPV Technical Commission chairman since March 2018.

BARRY COUZNER OAM (AUS)
• Competition manager for sitting volleyball at Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
• International Technical Officials for World ParaVolley at Athen 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
• Chair, World ParaVolley Technical Commission.

JOHN KESSEL (USA)
• Jury at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
• Jury at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships.
• Chairman of WPV Development Commission.

DENIS LE BREUILLY (GBR)
• Technical Delegate at London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Organiser of Technical Officials courses, Classification, Refereeing and Coaching Courses for World ParaVolley.
• Responsible for initiating, developing and administering the three-level pathway to International for Referees, Coaches, Classifiers and Technical Officials.

GORDON NEALE OBE (GBR)
• Instrumental in reviving sitting volleyball in 2008 in time for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
• Jury member, Technical Delegate, Assistant Delegate in international and European events and Paralympic Games.
• Organiser, consultant, lecturer, commentator and CEO of Disability Sport England.

GYULA RADI (HUN)
• ISOD Chairman of Technical Committee who was responsible for nominations of referees and referee observers.
• Referee Delegate at Barcelon 1992 and Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games.
• Organised International Referee Courses.

TORALV THORKILDSEN (NOR)
• International Referee at Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
• Jury member at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• Jury member at World Championships.

TU WEI PING (AUS)
• Elected as PVAO Development Director.
• Jury, Technical Delegate, Assistant Technical Delegate in PVAO and international events, and Paralympic Games.
• Completed Level 3 of Technical Officials Course.

 


GOVERNANCE

World ParaVolley recognises the outstanding contributions of individuals who have shown accountability and an excellent policy- and decision-making skills for the best interest of the sport. They provide the leadership in their own field of work and act with transparency to all members and stakeholders.

PHIL ALLEN (CAN)
• World ParaVolley Manager since 2013 whose work is focused on member relations, membership policy management, international relations, strategic planning, financial management, communications management, course leadership and management, provision of support to Board of Directors, Commissions and personnel.
• Volleyball Canada Technical Coordinator from 2001 to 2009.

SVERRE BERGENHOLDT (NOR)
• Involvement as international administrative official in ISOD, EPC, CPISRA for 28 years, where the first 10 years was dedicated to sitting volleyball development.
• Involvement in Norwegian Sport Associations for Disabled from 1971 to 2000.

SUVI BLESCHMIDT (FIN)
• World ParaVolley Development Commission member from 2010 t0 2017.
• Involvement as Board member with ParaVolley Europe.
• Involvement with the Development Department of ParaVolley Europe from 2007-2017.

GERARD BROUWERS (NED)
• Became WOVD Sport Director in 2000.
• Became an International Referee in 1990.
• Technical Delegate at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL (USA)
• World ParaVolley Board Member.
• Referee chairman for the Pan American zone for 18 years and became the zone president in 2012.
• First referee in the USA and Pan America zone to become involved with sitting volleyball.

BARRY COUZNER OAM (AUS)
• Involvement with World ParaVolley since 2000, providing service in the technical area; currently the WPV president.
• Competition Manager at Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and first Australian to be a member of the FIVB Board.
• Extensive history in volleyball as a player, coach, referee, manager and administrator; he was president of Volleyball Australia for 10 years.

ANITA GOLTNIK URNAUT (SLO)
• Lectured in different seminars for sport for people with special needs.
• Member of the working group for the Inclusion of Women Volleyball in the Paralympic Games.
• Involvement in management of WOVD for six years, including positions held as President for two years and as Vice-President for four years.

PAUL HARMSEN (NED)
• Vice President of ParaVolley Europe from 2017 to present.
• Worked in various task forces of ParaVolley Europe and World ParaVolley on sports development and classification.
• Member of working group for integration of sitting volleyball within the Dutch Volleyball Federation (NEVOBO).

WAYNE HELLQUIST (CAN)
• Involvement in the administration of the sport.
• WPV Board member and Vice-President responsible for marketing and rebranding the organisation.
• Twelve years as member of the Board and Vice-President of Volleyball Canada.

LEX HERREBRUGH (NED)
• Secretary General of WOVD from 1996 to 2006.
• Took part in the Paralympic Games in Sydney and Athens.
• Managing director of the Dutch Sports Association for the Disabled from 1970 to 1988.

DENIS LE BREUILLY (GBR)
• Extensive involvement with development of volleyball as coach, referee, tutor and administrator since late 1970s, specifically in volleyball for athletes with a physical impairment since 1992.
• Heavily involved with all aspects of the sport through role as World ParaVolley Sport Director and member of the
Board of Directors.
• Leader of the successful Agitos Foundation Project in Southern Africa and driving force behind the first African Championships which combined both northern and Sub Saharan nations and included six teams of Internationally Classified Women, resulting in an African Women’s team qualifying for the Paralympics for the first time.

LYU ZIXHIN (CHN)
• Former director of the Shanghai Disabled Persons’ Sports Training Center.
• Responsible for the establishment of the Chinese sitting volleyball team in Shanghai and did a lot of basic work in the aspects of athletes selection, team training and logistics support.
• Led the team to win become world and Paralympic champions.

BRANKO MIHORKO (SLO)
• Involved for over 30 years in disabled sports, and for sitting volleyball as a player, referee, manager and coach in Slovenia.
• Chef de Mission for the Slovenian teams at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and a member of the support team at London 2012.
• Currently acting on role as ParaVolley Europe President.

HOSSAM ELDIN MOSTAFA SAAD (EGY)
• President of World ParaVolley from 2010 to 2014.
• President of ParaVolley Egypt from 2018 to present.
• President of Egyptian Paralympic Committee from 2011 to 2012 and Secretary General from 1991 to 2010.

PIETER JOON (NED)
• Founder and President World Organisation Volleyball for the Disabled from 1980 to 2001
• Member of the Technical Committee Paralympic Games from 1984 to 1992.
• Involvement in the competition programmes in the Paralympics, including Arnhem 1980, Stoke Mandeville and New York 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.

ALI KASHFIA (EGY)
• Para Sport Manager for one of the provinces in Iran.
• Director of I.R. Iran ParaVolley Association.
• Played in four editions of the Paralympic Games.

JOHN KESSEL (USA)
• Worked in various capacities in every summer Olympics or Paralympics since 1984.
• Developing volleyball at the highest levels, and beginning level programs since his first college coaching job in 1971
• Paralympic development began in 1995, and he was producer for the sitting volleyball venue in the Atlanta Games in 1996 and has tournament directed sitting volleyball for the last six Wounded Warrior Games in the USA.

HAYAT KHATTAB (EGY)
• Involved in the Paralympic Games since 2011 as a member of the board of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee
• Current president of the Egyptian Paralympic Committee and ParaVolley Africa.
• Nominated by the International Paralympic Committee as the woman of the year in 2017 because of her efforts in promoting and developing the Paralympic movement in Egypt and Africa.

FRITS KLEIN (NED)
• Started sitting volleyball refereeing career in 1983; national referee from 1983 to 1986 and became international referee in 1988.
• Officiated matches at Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000
• Member of the Referee Commission, European Referee Commission and the Sports Department.

DANUTA KOWALEWSKA-HELAC (POL)
• Involvement in sitting volleyball started in 2000 because of her passion for volleyball and the local community.
• Became part of the European Committee Volleyball for Disabled (ECVD) from 2005 and 2013; and became the Assistant Secretary General in 2012.
• Elected in 2013 as Secretary General of ParaVolley Europe and held the position for the next three years.

GORDON NEALE OBE (GBR)
• Became an international referee in 1999.
• Awarded as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen for his outstanding contribution to disabled sport.
• Board member of the WOVD until 1996.

CELESTIN NZEYIMANA (RWA)
• Helped introduce sitting volleyball and created clubs in Rwanda.
• During his term as Secretary General of NPC Rwanda from 2007 to 2008, he included sitting volleyball on the list of sports to be played at the national level.
• Attended Paralympic Games as Chef de Mission at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

PETER OZMEC (SLO)
• Contributed to the development the sport more than what is expected of any individual athlete.
• Contributed to the development of sitting volleyball in the Balkans, in Europe and the world.
• Organised many international events since 1991, including World Cup for Women and WOVD Assemblies)

JUAN PONT (ESP)
• President of WOVD from 2000 to 2004.
• Organised sports seminar for people with disabilities, where then IPC President Philip Craven was the guest of honour.
• Conducted Referee Course in Cuba and the NPC took part in sitting volleyball for the first time at Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.

GYULA RADI (HUN)
• Sitting volleyball referee since 1982 and since becoming part of the ISOD Board as Technical Officer in 1984, he had been involved in drafting regulations, rules and managing the referee corps.
• Officiated almost 100 matches between 1982 and 1991, including the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games final.
• Referee Delegate at Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

EUGENE SALVELKOUL (NED)
• First introduction to Para sports in 1980 for the Arnhem Paralympic Games.
• He led the foundation for promotion of disabled sports (SPGN) until 2016.
• Part of the ECVD until 1997.

MARIE-THERESE SCHOLTENS (SLO)
• First Secretary-General of ParaVolley Europe (ECVD at the time) and in more recent years, the Hon. Treasurer of ParaVolley Europe and World ParaVolley.
• Contributed to all ECVD Board meetings, General Assemblies, Euro Cups, European Championships for 23 years.
• Wwarded a special and well-deserved Gold Medal from the ParaVolley Europe upon retirement at the 2013 European Championships in Poland.

TORALV THORKILDSEN (NOR)
• International Referee at Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
• Jury member at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
• World ParaVolley Executive Board member from 2007 to 2017; VicePresident from 2014 to 2017.

TU WEI PING (AUS)
• Elected as PVAO Development Director.
• Jury, Technical Delegate, Assistant Technical Delegate in PVAO and international events, and Paralympic Games.
• Completed Level 3 of Technical Officials Course.

 


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