THE success of Guernsey’s first sitting volleyball tournament, which attracted 13 teams, will encourage more people to play the sport regularly.
The tournament, which was organised by Volleyball Guernsey and sponsored by ABN AMRO, aimed to raise awareness of the sport and attract new players to the activities offered by Volleyball Guernsey.
‘Sitting volleyball is very new to the island and although we do have some social game time on Saturday mornings, we wanted to organise something that would get more people involved and showcase the sport,’ said Jo Turville, who introduced the sport to Guernsey.
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Mrs Turville, a former island volleyball player, attended a training camp with the Great Britain sitting volleyball squad ahead of London 2012 and developed a passion for the game. Since then, she has attended a sitting volleyball workshop.
‘The course was a great opportunity to see how the sport is being offered in the UK and encouraged participants to look at ways of introducing it across the regions. Guernsey is such a sporty island and there are lots of opportunities for able-bodied people and less-abled people to participate separately but few where they can participate together. A tournament seemed the best way of showing people exactly what the sport involved,’ she said.
‘I was delighted at the success. At least half of the players were new to the sport so hopefully we’ll encourage them to come along and start playing more regularly. We’ll also look to organise another tournament so that they can come back and show off what they have learnt.’
Sitting volleyball involves players sitting on the floor and using their hands to move into position and play the ball. The net is about the same height as used on a tennis court and so the games are quick and players need to be responsive.
The tournament involved 13 teams of four, only two of which could be registered players from the local volleyball leagues. Teams included one from sponsor ABN AMRO, one from the board of the Guernsey Football Association, and four teams of physios and therapists at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.
Teams took part in 10-minute matches to decide the semi-finalists. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize secured their place in the final by beating Short Shiny Shufflers 27 – 20 with The Rings of Fire winning the other semi-final against The Bumball Bees 28 – 18.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize then won the final 23 – 15.
‘The first few matches were a steep learning curve for many of the players but they soon got into their slide. It was really satisfying to watch some very enthusiastic matches and to hear how much fun everyone was having.’
Mrs Turville has been working closely with Guernsey Sports Commission and held sessions in schools to introduce the sport to younger players. She is now planning to hold sessions for local charities as well as continuing to run the Saturday morning games between 10 and 11am at Beau Sejour which are open to everyone.
‘The team at the Guernsey Sports Commission has been really helpful and I am very grateful to them for their support as they have put lots of photos and a video up on their website. Thanks must also go to ABN AMRO for their support as without it, the tournament wouldn’t have been as successful.’
More information about sitting volleyball can be found by searching for Sitting Volleyball Guernsey on Facebook or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org