The Slovakian team headed by coach Helena Hankova expressed their strong support to World ParaVolley’s bid for the Beach ParaVolley discipline’s inclusion in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games sports programme.
“We always keep in touch with activities of the World ParaVolley and other countries, but our main goal now is to support the World ParaVolley and get that mindset of making this discipline a Paralympic sport – the way we did in supporting sitting volleyball,” Hankova said.
The Road to LA 2028 is a long journey but Hankova is hopeful and willing to take the necessary steps to help achieve this goal. Her first mission is to get a good result for the men’s team at the 2019 Beach ParaVolley World Series Pingtan Open, which could boost the support for their national programme.
“We have a different weather in Slovakia at this time and we had to train indoor. When we came here, there were natural factors such as the sun and the wind that affected our play,” Hankova said.
“We want to get in the final four, a medal would be a bonus. Our goals in the future would be to get better conditions, help improve the quality of this discipline and attract more players.
“Participating in this event would help us get sponsorships and support from various ParaVolley organisations which is valuable and relative to the amount of support that regular sports receive.
“We are very happy with the great facilities here in Pingtan. The event is well organised and well attended by the media. This would be a great promotion for us to attract more sponsors and players.
For now, the Slovakian team’s focus is to stay in top form and compete in more Beach ParaVolley tournaments.
“We have not organised a big tournament since we had the Slovak Championships in 2017,” Hankova said. “We are doing our best to stay in top shape and we compete regularly in tournaments in Kazakhstan and Poland.”