Women’s and men’s teams will attempt to spoil another Russian sweep when the 2019 European Sitting Volleyball Championships hit off Monday in Budapest, Hungary.
The competition, which runs until 20 July, will feature nine women’s and 12 men’s squads. Raising the stakes are Tokyo 2020 Paralympic qualification slots up for grabs, with the winners earning a spot for their nation at next year’s Games.
Russia made sitting volleyball history about this time a year ago when they captured their first world title, and the nation has a strong case to make it back-to-back European golds this week.
Ukraine would look to meet their rivals in the gold medal match again after falling to Russia at the 2017 European Championships in Porec, Croatia.
Croatia, Finland, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia will also attempt to reach the podium.
With Russia earning Tokyo 2020 qualification already from the 2018 Worlds, one other nation will get the Paralympic ticket.
After missing out on the gold at the 2018 Worlds in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Bosnia and Herzegovina would be even hungrier for gold.
The powerhouse nation will have to face defending champions Russia and runners-up Ukraine.
With Bosnia and Herzegovina having earned a slot for their nation at Tokyo 2020, other nations will battle for the one opening.
Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia and Turkey are the other contenders.
Preliminary rounds will take place until 17 July, and medal matches on 20 July.
More on the 2019 European Sitting Volleyball Championships can be found on the event website.