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Sitting volleyball

Luciana Vermell/CPB
Luciana Vermell/CPB#

Sitting volleyball came about by combining conventional volleyball with a German sport played by people with little mobility, which used no net called sitzbal. It uses volleyball rules mostly and has been in the Paralympic programme since the 1980 Games in Arnhem, in the Netherlands.

When it was included in the Paralympic programme, sitting volleyball shared the limelight with the standing version of the game. The sport seemed to stand out at the 2004 Games in Athens, when Paralympic volleyball started to be played only by athletes sitting down.

Athletes with amputated limbs, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and people with other types of locomotion disabilities are allowed to compete in sitting volleyball. One of the sport’s main rules is that athletes are not allowed to hit the ball if they are not in contact with the ground.


Volleyball's functional classification system is divided between amputees and les autres. For amputees, there are nine basic classes based on the following categories:

AK (above knee)
Above or through the knee joint

BK (below knee)
Below the knee, but through or above the talus bone

AE (above elbow)
Above or through the elbow joint

BE (below elbow)
Below the elbow, but through or above the wrist joint

Class A1
Double AK

Class A2
Simple AK

Class A3
Double BK

Class A4
Simple BK

Class A5
Double AE

Class A6
Simple AE

Class A7
Double BE

Class A8
Simple BE

Class A9
Combined amputations of lower and upper limbs

Athletes with some locomotion disability are put into the les autres class. Athletes belonging to the categories of amputees, cerebral palsied or spinal cord affected (paratetra-polio) are allowed to take part in some events in the les autres class.


Women only in Athens

Between the Arnhem Games in 1980 and Sydney 2000, only men were allowed to take part in sitting volleyball events. Women only made their debut at the 2004 Games in Athens. That year, six teams fought it out for the first medals awarded in women’s events. China scooped up the gold, beating the Netherlands 3-1 in the final. Brazil only took part in the female sitting volleyball competition at the 2012 London Paralympics. They finished fifth at the London Games.

See also

Brazilian Association of Paralympic Volleyball (ABVP)