Toronto 2015 preview: Sitting volleyball

Brazil’s men and the USA’s women will start as favourites for gold in the sitting volleyball competition. 04 Aug 2015
Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway sets the ball for USA against China in the gold-medal game at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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Competition dates: 8-14 August


Venue: CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Fieldhouse


Teams: Men’s Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and USA; Women: Brazil, Canada, Cuba and USA


Medal events: 2 – one men’s and one’s women’s


Tickets: Adults CAD 20 / U16 & 64+ CAD 15


Buy sitting volleyball tickets at Ticketmaster



Brazil’s men won gold at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and were surprise silver medallists at last year’s World Championships in Poland.

Having finished in silver medal position at London 2012 and last year’s World Championships behind China, the USA will start as favourites for gold in the women’s competition. Ranked third in the world, they will face stiff competition from Brazil who are ranked one place lower.


Three athletes to look out for

Katie Holloway (USA)

Holloway is the face of the USA’s sitting volleyball programme. A two-time Paralympic silver medallist, she was named USA Volleyball’s 2012 Female Athlete of the Year for sitting volleyball. She won both the Most Valuable Player and Best Spiker awards at the 2011 Parapan American Games.

Levi Gomes (Brazil)

Gomes is the inspirational captain of the Brazilian men’s side who upset all the odds last year by beating multi-Paralympic champions and world number one ranked side Iran in the semi-finals of the World Championships. His side finished with silver and are currently ranked third in the world.

Austin Hinchley (Canada)

A bronze medal winner in 2011, Hinchley knows his side can only make the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning gold or coming second to Brazil.


The sport

The objective is similar to volleyball: hit the ball over the net and land it in the opposing team’s half of the court. In sitting volleyball, however, the net is 1.05 metres high for women and 1.15 metres high for men, service blocks are allowed and one of the athlete’s buttocks must remain in contact with the floor at all times when handling the ball.

The rally begins with a serve from the back of the court, over the net and into the receiving team’s court; the receiving team must not allow the ball to touch the ground, and they may touch the ball as many as three times before it must be hit back over the net to the other team’s side.

Points are awarded to the team that wins the rally. Matches are the best of five sets.


The venue

The CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House is the largest sport new-build for the Games and the largest investment ever in Canadian amateur sport history.

The Aquatics Centre includes two internationally sanctioned 10-lane, 50-metre pools (including bulkheads); a 5-metre deep diving tank with 3-metre, 5-metre, 7.5-metre and 10-metre platforms; and dry-land dive training facilities.

The Field House features flexible gymnasium space for training and competition, as well as an indoor recreational track and fitness area with cardio and weightlifting facilities.

The Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario (CSIO) is relocating its head office here, providing world-leading sport science and sport performance services including coaching and training facilities.

Gates open one hour before competition.