Caen, France, 30 November 2023 – Five teams are on the starting line ahead of Friday’s 2023 Sitting Volleyball Men’s European Bronze Nations League here in this historic city – of William the Conqueror fame – of Normandy.
Estonia, hosts France, Georgia and the Netherlands are all challenging defending champions Czechia in this three-day event that begins with a single pool round-robin over Friday and Saturday, followed by the medals matches on Sunday morning.
An awesome crowd of of a few hundred fans turned out Thursday evening at Caen’s brand new Palais des Sports (though the actual Bronze League matches will be played as of Friday in the adjacent older hall) to set the tone for the weekend, as France hosted Czechia in an exhibition match.
France ran away with the first set and came back from way behind in the second to extend their lead after two set points. Czechia did pull one back for a final result of 2-1 (25-27, 26-24, 23-25) as the game concluded after three sets regardless of the score.
The Bronze League is an unofficial test event for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and gives the hosts a chance to fine-tune both the organisational side of things and the actual National Team that will represent France in next year’s Games.
Czechia have won both previous editions of the Bronze League, since the competition was introduced in 2021 and are certainly keen to complete the hat-trick this year. All three editions so far have been hosted by France (the first two in Lyon before moving here to Caen).
France are the only other side amongst the five participants to have collected medals in both previous editions of the Bronze League and of the remaining three only Estonia have participated in both 2021 and 2022.
The Netherlands are making their debut appearance in this specific competition as they attempt to gradually rebuild the grand Dutch supremacy of decades past.
And Georgia are fielding a National Team for just the third time ever across all ParaVolley Europe events (following a 13th place in 2017 and 14th in 2021 at the European Championships).
A brief Opening Ceremony followed the exhibition match, as President of Caen Volleyball Club and head of the Local Organising Committee Lionel Billard welcomed all nations to the competition and conveyed Caen Mayor Joel Bruneau’s comment that the Bronze League will provide a taste of the Paralympics.
On behalf of ParaVolley Europe, the organisation’s representative Isabelle Collot thanked all those involved in setting up the project, including local organisers and volunteers, while expressing the certainty that this will be a great event.
Competition begins Friday morning with pool play concluding on Saturday evening and the medals matches scheduled for Sunday morning. This third edition of the Bronze League marks the first time featuring an actual final that follows the round-robin pool play.
Source: ParaVolley Europe