The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 7, 2010

Community spirit aids UCO event

(Continued)

EDMOND — SITTING VOLLEYBALL 101

Paralympic volleyball is divided into two major disciplines — sitting and standing. Paralympic volleyball follows the same rules as its non-disabled counterpart with a few modifications to accommodate the various disabilities.

In sitting volleyball, the net is about 3.5 feet high, and the court is 10 x 6 meters with a two-meter attack line, according to information posted at usparalympics.org. Players are allowed to block serves, but one “cheek” must be in contact with the floor whenever they make contact with the ball.

Paralympic volleyball competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation or limb loss, spinal cord injury and athletes suffering from cerebral palsy, brain injury or stroke.

Event officials said spectators will come away impressed by the level and quality of competition.

For the international athletes, officials want the event to be the biggest and best they have ever experienced, Herrin said. U.S. athletes will have the home-court advantage, and see the level of home-grown support, he said.

Katrina Shaklee, director of sports and recreation at UCO, said the event will be the first of its kind in the U.S., and the competition will help raise awareness of a great Paralympic sport.

“We want people to come and cheer on these elite national teams,” Shaklee said.

Denis Le Breuilly, event competition manager, said the venues feel like they should for an event of this caliber. Sitting volleyball is commonly perceived as a “disabled sport,” a watered-down version, he said.

“It’s certainly not,” said Le Breuilly, who has experience officiating both varieties. “Sitting volleyball is very fast. And it’s not that they’ve got less skill. In fact, in many cases they have more skill because they have to have the movement around the floor.”

Herrin said spectators will be amazed by the sport.

“When they come, they’ll fall in love with it,” he said. “It’s just getting them here for the first time.”

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