Dec 9, 2023 08:08
news| paralympic| Sitting volleyball athletes embrace “family” on court
Sitting volleyball is one of the 22 sports on the Paris 2024 Paralympic sports prorgramme. There will be eight teams each in the men's and women's tournaments.


To Masoumeh Zarei Barouti, a sitting volleyball athlete from the Islamic Republic of Iran, taking up the sport was a life-changing experience. 

“Before I became an athlete, I isolated myself and I was at home all the time because of my disability,” Zarei Barouti said. “But right after I became an athlete, my whole life changed.”

Competing in sitting volleyball means that she is no longer staying at home. She has found another family outside of her house, those with whom she trains and travels around the world, competing in tournaments including the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and most recently, the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games.

“It’s really important for me and the players to share the same goal, which is to participate in the Paralympics in Paris,” Coach said.

As Zarei Barouti, the team captain, sees how far the sport has taken her, she also recognises the impact her playing has had outside of the court.

“People’s behavior toward me has changed since I became an athlete and people have learned that not everyone with a disability is weak.”

We are family

In Hangzhou, the Iranian team captured the silver medal in the women’s event, which was won by hosts China. On the final competition day, Zarei Barouti and her team even held a small birthday party for one of their players, and they took selfies with the Games mascot Feifei.

“Our players have really nice teamwork and sympathy toward each other,” said head coach Leyla Beryanan, who has led the team for about a year. “The players are like a family and they are like sisters. As the head coach, I consider myself their mother and I love it.

“It’s important for me to continue supporting them and be happy together.”

The women’s sitting volleyball event was introduced at the Paralympic Games in 2004. The Iranian women’s team participated at the Rio 2016 Games, while the men’s team, a huge powerhouse, has claimed seven gold medals since the men’s tournament was first included in the 1980 Paralympics.


Source: IPC Website
Code : 6,325
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Keywords: Sitting volleyball