21 January 2010
5 June 2008
Dates: Thursday 30 August – Saturday 8 September 2012
Medal events: 2
Athletes: 198 (110 men, 88 women; 10 men's teams and 8 women's teams)
Volleyball emerged in the Netherlands in the 1950s, a combination of Volleyball
and a German game called Sitzbal. It really began to increase in popularity
during the 1960s, and has since grown into one of the most fast-paced and
exciting Paralympic sports. Now played by athletes in more than 50 countries
around the world, the sport should draw big crowds at London 2012.
Sitting Volleyball is played by two teams of six on a 10m x 6m indoor court divided by a net (1.15m high for men, 1.05m for women). The object of the game is to land the ball in the opposition’s half of the court, with each team allowed three touches of the ball (in addition to a legal block) before it must cross over the net. Matches are the best of five sets, with the first four sets played as the first to 25 points; if a fifth set is necessary, it is won by the first team to reach 15 points. In all sets, a margin of at least two points is required for victory.
At London 2012, both the men’s and women’s events will begin with a round-robin group stage: the 10 men’s teams will be divided into two groups of five teams, with the eight women’s teams divided into groups of four. In the men’s competition, the top four teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals, from which point the competition will be conducted to a knockout format. For the women’s event, the top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals, with the winning semi-finalists then facing off for the gold.
Sitting Volleyball made its debut as a Paralympic medal sport at the Arnhem 1980 Games. A women’s event was added to the Paralympic programme in 2004.
At London 2012, the Sitting
Volleyball competition will be held at ExCeL, a multi-purpose events venue that
will also host a number of other Paralympic and Olympic sports.
- Block: Preventing the attacking ball to come over the net by
forming a ‘wall’ of hands at the net.
- Dig: A defensive passing shot from close to the ground.
- Setter: The player who ‘sets’ the ball for the attacker, usually on the second of the team’s three permitted shots.
- Wipe: To return the ball off an opposing block so it lands out of bounds.
If you want to get started, try the British Volleyball Federation, the English Volleyball Association, the Scottish Volleyball Association, Volleyball Wales, the Northern Ireland Volleyball Association and Parasport. The World Organisation for Volleyball for the Disabled, the international governing body for the sport, also has plenty of information on its website.
ExCeL is an existing exhibition and conference centre in London's Docklands. Its five arenas will host a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports during the London 2012 Games.