Fernando Guimarães influence on Sitting Volleyball in Brazil goes far beyond the court. He is an advocate, a motivator, a leader and a spokesperson for the sport on many different levels. As far as we can see, he is the only coach who in the same world championship put both teams on the podium, the men with the bronze medal and the women with the gold medal – quite an achievement. Nationally he is an eight times Brazilian Champion and two times best Brazilian Paralympic Coach. …and he is not finished yet!
1 – How did you get involved in Sitting Volleyball?
I am a Physiotherapist who has been working with hippotherapy in Brazil for 35 years who is also level IV volleyball coach (the highest degree in Brazil). Previously I was a professional volleyball player who played in Brazil and abroad. I was a reasonable player, but I played alongside the best players of my time. When I stopped playing in 1998, I started working with José Roberto Guimarães (my brother – he was a great player) on high-performance teams, as a physiotherapist and assistant coach.
Through 2005/2006/2007 I worked with the Brazilian women’s volleyball team, also with José Roberto. At the same, I coached women’s master volleyball teams for ten years. Then in 2007, the president of CBVD, Amauri Ribeiro, invited me to get to know the sport more closely. He thought that with the experience I had gained in hippotherapy and standing volleyball, I could help develop sitting volleyball in Brazil. So in 2009 I started my career as a sitting volleyball coach.
2 – What is it that motivates you each day to further develop our sport?
What motivates me is seeing how sports can promote the lives of people with some type of disability.
3 – What has been your biggest achievement in Sitting Volleyball to date?
My greatest achievement is seeing my players’ desire to live. Seeing in the eyes of each one, that sitting volleyball brought them back to life. That’s what moves me! That’s what keeps me going!
4 – What advice would you give to someone wanting to develop Sitting Volleyball in their region?
I advise everyone who wants to work or develop sitting volleyball, to study, to work hard, to realize that it’s not just about winning or losing. That the sport goes beyond that. That the responsibility of training individuals is much more important than training athletes. The inclusion of a person who has some type of physical disability in society through sport is sensational. In sitting volleyball, you sit, play and be happy! It is that simple!
5 – How would you explain Sitting Volleyball to someone in 12 words or less?
There are no limits! Sitting or not, we are all equals!
6 – Where/how do you see Sitting Volleyball in 10 years time?
It will depend on who is in charge. The potential of the sport is enormous, the appeal is great, but it needs to be more widespread. I really believe in the recent work of President Lori Okimura. She has passion and desire. We have a lot of to grow. It just depends on us!
The ‘Movers & Shakers’ initiative is aimed at giving more recognition to those that are developing Sitting Volleyball around the globe.
It can be anyone working in the sport, whether they have excelled at promoting it, ran a successful competition, started a new club/activity, organised events to increase awareness, influenced people for the greater benefit of the sport or a combination of the above.
Please do let us know if you know of someone who deserves to be highlighted by e-mailing
email@example.com with the following:
- Full name
- e-mail address
- Country in which they mainly work
- A short justification of why you are putting them forward
Their story will also offer others a chance for others to learn from their good practise and use what works in their area for even greater benefit. This is your chance to give recognition to those who promote and build the sport of sitting volleyball. We look forward to hearing from you.