ParaVolley inclusion in the works in Central America

The Central American Volleyball Confederation (AFECAVOL) and ParaVolley Pan America conducted a meeting that would establish cooperation for ParaVolley inclusion in the region.

AFECAVOL president Felix Sabio indicated that the importance of establishing the link with World ParaVolley is necessary due to the growth of the sport across the world in recent years.

“AFECAVOL is taking the first step to establish a structure that will facilitate each national federation to be part of this valuable organisation responsible for planning and developing ParaVolley for athletes with physical disabilities.”

World ParaVolley Pan America president Joe Campbell and development director Geni Tunney Canon Reyes attended the discussion together with national federation representatives and Mr Carlomagno Saenz Lopez of Costa Rica ParaVolleyball Federation.

Following the initiative taken by FIVB and WPV in early 2019 that would explore cooperative opportunities in the different disciplines of the sport – volleyball, beach volleyball, snow volleyball, sitting volleyball and beach ParaVolley – AFECAVOL is taking the next step towards implementing such cooperation in the region.

“We are the first zonal association that made this approach to establish close collaboration with World ParaVolley to start the path of ParaVolley in its different modalities in the Central American zone,” AFECAVOL administrative secretary and NORCECA secretary general Jose Luis Jimenez Lao said.

Campbell gave a brief description of his long career involved in ParaVolley and how ParaVolley Pan America has evolved throughout the years.

“From three member countries namely Brazil, Canada and the United States, we now have nine member countries and four are in the process of joining. It has been eight years since I assumed the presidency and my greatest dream is that we are fifteen countries that make up World ParaVolley Pan America, extending the development of ParaVolley in the region,” Campbell said.

The agenda included a presentation of the organisational structure of World ParaVolley at the world and Pan American level, an explanation of the different disciplines such as sitting volleyball, standing volleyball and beach ParaVolley, as well as aspects about the qualification for regional and Pan American events, World Cups and the Olympic Games, and also the training for coaches and referees.

The integral element of World ParaVolley in development is the process of inclusion and integration of everyone around ParaVolley and conventional volleyball taking relevance “as an activity that integrates players, family and children,” explained Geni Tunney Reyes.

The process of creating the structure and developing ParaVolley in each country is through the Paralympic Committee of each country. In this regard, the representatives of the national federations of Panama and El Salvador explained what steps have already been taken and the phase of completing the documentation to join World ParaVolley.

Sabio said that AFECAVOL will form the ParaVolley Commission to support each national federation in their needs to be part of the program.

“After this historic step, a follow-up needs to be carried out by the AFECAVOL administrative secretariat in the next few days to making each member country to be affiliated with World ParaVolley Pan America a reality,” Sabio stated.

Sabio also said that despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19, many opportunities have come up to strengthen AFECAVOL.

“Our association has benefitted from this type of talks, seminars and workshops, providing us with the necessary environment for the growth of our sport when we return to the courts.”

World ParaVolley president Barry Couzner OAM congratulated AFECAVOL and ParaVolley Pan America.

“I congratulate AFECAVOL and ParaVolley Pan America on this initiative that will provide greater opportunities for World ParaVolley membership and team and athlete development in the Pan American region. This is a significant early development given that in 2028 the Paralympic Games will be held in Los Angeles in the United States,” Couzner said.