Local referee obtains International Sitting Volleyball referee status

Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 9:38

One of the local International Volleyball Referees, Nello Calleja, has just returned from Sarajevo, in Bosnia & Herzegovina, after attending a course to become a Candidate International Referee in Volleyball for Persons with a Disability.

This course, organised by the World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled (W.O.V.D.) was attended by twenty four referees coming from fourteen countries spread over four continents. The course covered all rules related to both Standing and Sitting Volleyball, with practical experience gained during the Sarajevo Open Tournament, organised by the Fantomi Sitting Volleyball Club, and attended by the national teams of Brasil, U.S.A., Russia and the Netherlands, besides teams from Poland, Croatia, Germany and the same Fantomi from Bosnia.

Nello Calleja officiating the Semi Final match between Bayer Leverkusen (GER) against Hrabri (CRO)

Sitting volleyball started gaining ground in 1956 in Holland, and is played both by people with a physical disability, and also by able bodied volleyball players rehabilitating from injuries to the ankle and knee. Whilst retaining the basics of the volleyball game, sitting volleyball differs in certain aspects especially regarding a smaller court size, a lower net, and certain rules regarding block touches and penetration in the opponents’ court. Standing volleyball is completely similar to the proper volleyball game, with the exception that each team must satisfy certain player classification rules.

Both Sitting and Standing volleyball for men were admitted to the 1980 Paralympic Games in Arnhem, Holland, with Holland taking the honours in sitting volleyball and Israel in the standing competition. As from the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Standing volleyball was removed from the programme, and instead Sitting Volleyball for Ladies was introduced. During the games in Greece, Bosnia won the gold medal in the Men’s Competition, with China winning in the Ladies’ Section. 3 years ago in Beijing, Iran won the Men’s competition, with China confirming itself in the Ladies’ section.

It is the Mr. Calleja’s intention to set up an association to promote and organise sitting volleyball activities in Malta and Gozo. Anyone who is interested is asked to contact Mr. Calleja on maltavd@gmail.com.

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