Canada’s Sitting Volleyball Berth in the Paralympics on the Line.
In the Pan American games, the men’s volleyball team had big dreams of winning gold, but Canada was still behind them all the way when they won bronze. The women’s team had a tougher time and finished eighth.
But now it’s time to get behind our disabled sitting volleyball athletes at the Parapan American Games who have similar dreams to our other athletes – namely to win a berth in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
What Is Sitting Volleyball?
Sitting volleyball, sometimes known as Paralympic volleyball, is a game for disabled athletes that began being played in the Paralypmic Games in 1976 as a demonstration sport and has been played for medals ever since. Athletes with the following disabilities are eligible to compete in sitting volleyball:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain injuries
In sitting volleyball, there are 12 players per team, and the nets are 0.8 meters wide and set at 1.15 meters high for men and at 1.05 meters high for women. The court is 10 x 6 meters large with a two meter attack zone. Players must have at least one buttock on the floor whenever they make contact with the ball. Players are classed as either disabled (D) or minimally disabled (MD) for the sport and only one minimally disabled person may be on the court at one time. Canada’s Parapan American Games men’s team has no minimally disabled players on it while the women’s team has two.
A Star on the Canada’s Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team
Canada’s 30-year-old Jamoi Anderson, currently residing in Brampton, Ontario, is one of the men’s sitting volleyball athletes. He was introduced to sitting volleyball just four years ago and is in his third season with Canada’s national team. He was initially skeptical about sitting volleyball, but a huge athlete before his disability, it wasn’t long before he began to shine, winning a bronze medal at the 2013 Pan American Championships.
In October of 2008, Anderson had his left leg amputated below the knee due to a viral infection.
Anderson is an athlete ambassador through ParaSport Ontario and he speaks at schools and rehab centers about his experiences sharing not just his struggles but eliminating stigma against those with a disability and sparking hope in all those who may still be in the midst of their own battles.
Canada’s Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team Results
Canada has been performing well at the Parapan American Games and on Saturday, August 8th, they beat Cost Rica three games to zero. Unfortunately, Brazil went on to beat Canada on Sunday August 9th 3 games to zero.
But the big game is expected to be the Canada-United States match happening Monday, August 10th. Canada likely must win this game in order to get into the Paralympics in 2016. So far the United States have beaten Columbia and Brazil – but can Canada stop their streak?
Canada men’s sitting volleyball has won the bronze medal at the two last Parapan American Games.
A Star on the Canada’s Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team
Canada’s 25-year-old Jolan Wong currently resides in Pembroke Ontario and brings some international experience to Canada’s sitting volleyball team after being a member of team Canada at the 2010 World Championships.
Wong lost a leg due to bone cancer at age 13 but that didn’t deter her from keeping active. She participated in numerous sports through high school and was also a para-cyclist and played standing amputee hockey until she was 18 before switching to sitting volleyball.
Wong is a mother of two and faces the challenges of balancing the sport she loves and her family life. Wong is studying to be a fitness trainer and would love to work with youth and teach them the value of fitness and nutrition.
Canada’s Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team Results
On Sunday, August 9th, Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball team, unfortunately, lost to the United States but will be facing Brazil on Monday August 10th and hopes to turn things around.
To see the full sitting volleyball schedule and standings, see the Pan Am/Parapan Am site here.
“This article was written by award-winning mental health writer and speaker, Natasha Tracy.”