Sitting Volleyball

Sitting Volleyball

Great Britain’s Sitting Volleyball programme is comparatively new: the programme was disbanded in 1991 but was reinstated after the announcement that London had won the bid. As a result, all the athletes who competed at London 2012 are comparatively new to the sport.

The men’s team at London included captain Rob Richardson, who was identified at a ParalympicsGB talent identification day, and Charlie Walker, who lost his leg to meninigitus.

Martine WrightThe women’s team included sports teacher Emma Wiggs, who was also spotted at a ParalympicsGB talent identification day, and Martine Wright, who has received a good deal of media attention as a result of her being injured in the 7/7 terrorist bombings.

The BPA confirmed that a GB men’s team would compete in London 2012 in September 2011. A confirmation of the GB women’s host nation slot was decided in mid-March 2012.

At the Paralympic Games in London, neither the GB men's or women's team reached beyond the preliminary stages. Both teams secured valuable experience, however, which will benefit them as they prepare for their next summer Games.

  • First year at a Paralympic Games:
  • Toronto 1976 (demonstration sport)
    Arnhem 1980
  • Brief history:
  • Sitting Volleyball emerged in the Netherlands in the 1950s, a combination of Volleyball and a German game called Sitzbal. The standing version of Volleyball, which first appeared in the Paralympics in 1976, was dropped from the programme after 2000.
  • Eligible impairment groups:
  • All physical impairment groups are eligible
  • London medal table:
  • Men
    1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
    2 Iran
    3 Germany
    1 China
    2 USA
    3 Ukraine
  • Did you know:
  • Although the game is played sitting down, many players are actually ambulant (their conditions prevent them from competing in non-disabled Volleyball) and so do not be surprised if you see players standing up to celebrate a point
  • London 2012 venue:
  • ExCeL
  • Rio 2016 venue:
  • Rio Olympic Park (Deodoro Zone)


Teams aim to hit a ball over a net and land it within the opposition's court. Teams have three passes, to form an attacking play, before the ball has to go over the net.

Sitting Volleyball requires players to maintain contact between their pelvis and the floor at all times.

The sport features a smaller court (10 metres by six metres) and a lower net compared to its Olympic counterpart. The net height internationally is 1.15m (men) and 1.05m (women). As a result, Sitting Volleyball is faster than the Olympic indoor game. Another change from Olympic rules is that blocking of the serve is allowed.

Each team is allowed to feature six players on court, including a libero (defensive specialist), who will wear a different coloured shirt to the rest of the team, although five reserves are allowed. There are competitions for both men’s and women’s teams.

The first team to 25 points wins a set, but they must win by two clear points. The first team to win three sets is the winner. A maximum of five sets are played. If a match goes to a deciding fifth set, the first team to 15 points and with a two-point advantage wins.


All athletes with physical impairments are eligible. Most players are athletes who are amputees. In addition, two players on each team may have ‘minimal impairment', which means their impairment may appear minimal but it prevents them from competing in the non-disabled version of the sport. These injuries include anterior cruciate ligament damage and missing fingers.


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