The history of volleyball for people with disabilities dates back to the 1950s. However, the first formal international organisation of the sport was formed in 1980 at the Paralympic Games in the Netherlands and was later called the ‘World Organisation of Volleyball for the Disabled’ (WOVD). The WOVD were successful to bring two events at the Paralympics for men (sitting and standing volleyball), and in 2004, both men and women competed only in sitting volleyball.
In 2014, the WOVD was rebranded as World ParaVolley (WPV) to coincide with the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) marketing vision. WPV is looking forward to celebrating its first 40 years in 2020 and do this partly by publishing its history. This has led to the appointment of Dr. Kwok Ng as the chief historian. Dr. Ng wrote a book on sitting volleyball in 2012 titled “When Sitting is Not Resting: Sitting Volleyball” and continues to be active in collecting historical aspects of the paravolley.
At the 2018 World Championships, held in the Netherlands, Kwok had the opportunity to give a copy of his book to the founding President of the WOVD, Pieter Joon. There, they talked about preserving the history of the sport and this was the start of this important history project. This autumn is the 30th anniversary of the IPC and during the summer it was an opportunity for Kwok to meet with Pieter to film his IPC30 birthday message video and to begin the archiving process of the history.
Kwok met with Pieter and his wife—Elly—at their home where he was shown photos, news clippings, books, medals and badges from the time that Pieter was involved as president of the WOVD. Kwok also interviewed Pieter, who described some of the key milestones in the development of WPV, including the time leading up to the formation of WOVD and the first Paralympic games for sitting volleyball in Arnhem 1980. After a couple of days, there was a sense of achievement by both parties, but this really is only the start of the history project. Kwok is keen to get a team of people interested to work on the history project. This includes people with a background in paravolley as well as people from outside but have a specialism in sport history.
People who would like to express their interest may do so by completing an online application form by visiting https://bit.ly/beWPV. Closing date is 15th August 2019. Accepted people to the WPV history team will be subject to approval by the WPV board.