Sport is not just about wins and medals, it is also an important tool in society as it plays an integral part in social inclusion. With this in mind the Erasmus+ project SIT2PLAY was developed to promote and help change the perception of disability through sports.
The Volleyball Federation of Slovenia organised the first test tournament for young players aged between 14 and 18 in Braslovče, the country’s sitting volleyball national centre, and the second one in Ljubljana during the CEV Men’s EuroVolley in Ljubljana.
Young participants from nine Slovenian schools were thrilled with the opportunity to take part in the sitting volley tournaments. “I have played it for the first time. It is very interesting, different from actual volleyball. I like it. It is a little bit different, but it is not hard once you get into it,” said Tina.
On the other side of the net was Ela, who is a more experienced player and has already participated in some international tournaments, including one in Vienna: “I have played sitting volleyball on a weekly basis for a few years now. It is a lot of fun and what I like the most is that everyone who wishes to do so can play sitting volleyball.”
And what about the sitting volleyball rules? Žan, one of the participants of the tournament, says everything is very easy, “One can quickly get sucked into the match. The rules are simple and I think this is an advantage of sitting volleyball.”
On top of this, the sport got a very positive feedback came from the mentors from different schools. Tomaž Urbančič from the Šiška Grammar School could not find enough superlatives to describe the project, “Considering the players come from schools, I am enthusiastic and I immediately supported the idea when one of our former pupils invite
d us to participate in the sitting volleyball tournament. The rules are simplified and even allow the second serve, which is usually the biggest problem for less skilled players, so I think they are very good and well developed. I fully support the programme.”
Medallists of the sitting volleyball tournament in Ljubljana received their trophies and recognition during the first match of the day at the CEV European Championship between Russia and Finland in front of loud Finnish fans. The winner of the tournament was the team of Ravne na Koroškem Grammar School, the Celje School centre took the second place, while the Šiška Grammar School finished third.
Winners of the tournament will have the opportunity to take part in the International Inclusive Sitting Volleyball Tournament which will be held this November in Rome, Italy.