World ParaVolley is entering a new era of athlete engagement after world-wide elections to choose the members of the Athletes’ Commission took place in early 2019.
Four regional elections across Europe, Asia/Oceania, Africa and the Americas were followed by one global election to elect the fifth Commission member.
There was high-athlete engagement, resulting in 25 candidates and 317 eligible voters.
World ParaVolley General Manager Phil Allen said: “With international electronic voting it is really impossible to know what participation levels might be, as there are so many factors at play, including potential language barriers, access to internet services, time zones, etc. But overall we are very happy with the participation levels.”
After all votes were tallied, the elected members of the Athletes’ Commission are:
• Jose Rebelo (CAN) – representing ParaVolley Pan America
• Masoumeh Barouti (IRI) – representing ParaVolley Asia/Oceania
• Emile Vunigabo (RWA) – representing ParaVolley Africa
• Ivan Cosic (CRO) – representing ParaVolley Europe
• Nicole Nieves (USA) – general member
• Tatiana Ivanova (RUS)* – sitting volleyball representative
It is noticeable that six different countries are represented with an equal number of male and female athletes. The seventh member to be appointed by the Commission in the near future will be the Beach ParaVolley representative.
Rebelo was elected as Chair. As a result, he will automatically serve on the World ParaVolley Board of Directors. The Vice-Chair and the other representative of the Board (who must be a female), will be elected soon.
“It is with great honour that I receive this announcement. I want to thank all the candidates for your desire to develop ParaVolley in all its forms – it is really heartening,” said Rebelo.
World ParaVolley President Barry Couzner added: “I’m very pleased that the World ParaVolley athletes have demonstrated a high level of engagement in the election process and that the newly elected members of the Commission will be actively involved in providing information and feedback to the Board and Commissions of World ParaVolley on a variety of matters from the perspective of an athlete.”
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.