Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines have collectively and unanimously expressed their support and called for further cooperation in the development of sitting volleyball in the Southeast Asian region.
During the 11th ASEAN Para Games Solo 2022 in Indonesia, a Coaches’ Workshop was conducted for the participating teams on August 1 at the Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel.
The workshop was facilitated by Irene Chang, technical delegate for sitting volleyball, with the presence of Sports and Technical Director of the ASEAN Para Sports Federation Stefanie Ang and PVAO referees commissioner Ebrahim Firouzi. The workshop included sharing experiences of the panel, team representatives, International Technical Officials (ITOs) and members of the local organising committee.
The main objective of the workshop was to find out about the status of sitting volleyball in each country and to find the best way to promote the discipline in the region.
Among the shared challenges of the teams are the inadequate funding for sitting volleyball programmes and the lack of players and resources to form a team. Even countries that have sitting volleyball programmes could not further their development due to the lack of competitions in the region.
Amidst these obstacles, there were also positive things that came out of the enthusiasm of the people from each team to participate at the ASEAN Para Games.
“Thailand has good support from the government, and we were also supported by commercial sponsors. With that support, we were able to get foreign coaches that helped develop the team in competitions in Asia,” assistant coach Sakkarat Sri-iam said.
“The Philippines was able to form a sitting volleyball team because of the 2019 ASEAN Para Games, but unfortunately that was cancelled due to the pandemic. We were able to continue the programme through virtual training and our NPC supported us to participate in this edition,” coach Rosemarie Prochina said.
Indonesia, which won the women’s gold medal this year, recounted that their programme started when Solo hosted the Games for the first time in 2011.
“If not for the 2011 ASEAN Para Games here in Solo, Indonesia would not have teams. The 2011 Games started it all for us, including the women’s team. We are grateful that we can compete here again,” coach Andri Asrul Setiyawan said.
Firouzi shared that talent identification and training, coaching and management, refereeing education and developing a long-term sitting volleyball programme is the key to success.
“The main priority of each country is to find potential athletes for the team and the next priority is to select the best and train them for the national team. Finding a good coach and improving the knowledge of coaches and players must be of utmost importance. There should also be stable leadership to be able to manage and plan the programmes, which could eventually create more opportunities such as leagues and competitions in the country, and overseas training camps for athletes and coaches. Likewise there should be investment to update the knowledge of the referees, also finding potential talents – male and female – to attend refereeing courses,” Firouzi said.
Chang concluded the workshop with a recommendation to conduct another session before the next edition of the ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia in 2023, with an experienced coach to provide valuable insights in various aspects of the programme.
With the suggestions of the group, the technical delegate also initiated to form a working group to conduct a tournament in the future, incorporating all the suggestions made by the attendees of the workshop.
“We must try to get more ASEAN countries to play sitting volleyball. It is important that we work as a small family and try to expand and help each other move forward. Let’s strive together so that everyone succeeds together,” Chang concluded.
11th ASEAN Para Games Solo 2022 Final Standings
Gold – Cambodia
Silver – Thailand
Bronze – Indonesia
4th – Myanmar
5th – Malaysia
6th – Philippines
Gold – Indonesia
Silver – Thailand
3rd – Cambodia