Sitting volleyball clinics being introduced to Vancouver



    VANCOUVER, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Vancouver has been chosen as the first
place in Canada where regularly scheduled sitting volleyball "train and play"
clinics will be held.
    Six-week sessions begin Thursday, February 21, 2008 at both the G.F.
Strong Rehabilitation Centre and Windermere Secondary School. Following a
"train and play" format, the clinics are designed to provide participants with
a mix of instruction and game play.
    "We're extremely excited about this opportunity to move sitting
volleyball forward in Canada," said Phil Allen, coordinator of Disabled
Volleyball Programs for Volleyball Canada. "The Vancouver clinics are designed
to be inclusive as it's a sport that can be played by just about anyone, and
we're encouraging everyone - men and women as well as those with a physical
disability and those without - to come and try it out."
    Sitting volleyball is a Paralympic sport that is very popular in Europe,
but is quite new to Canada. Volleyball Canada has run a national team program
for both men and women since early 2007.
    The Canadian men's team won the bronze medal at the 2007 Parapanamerican
Games in Brazil, but did not qualify for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Summer
Games, running from September 6-17, 2008 in China.
    "The Canadian Paralympic Committee is actively encouraging the
development of sporting opportunities for all athletes. Canada needs to
develop a seamless and supportive athlete development system, through which
athletes can progress if they wish to the elite level," said CPC President
Carla Qualtrough. "Clinics like these should lead to more Canadians with a
physical disability becoming more active, and could help lead to a broad base
of sitting volleyball athletes."
    The clinics are being offered through the Get Up and Go! program,
launched by the Vancouver Park Board in conjunction with the Vancouver School
Board in January 2008. Under the program, school gymnasiums are opened on
Saturdays for use by the public for recreational sport programs that were
previously only held at community centres, which have become overbooked.
    "At this point we're getting the word out to as many people as possible
so we can populate the programs," said Travis Dodds, a local coach and
co-founder of Optimum Volleyball. "Ultimately, it's our hope that these
sessions will blossom into the first sitting volleyball league in the
country."
    Dodds will be one of two instructors at the clinics.

    The "Train and Play" clinics are scheduled as follows:

    At G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre gymnasium
    4255 Laurel Street, Vancouver
    Thursday evenings from 7 pm to 9 pm
    February 21 until March 27

    At Windermere Secondary School
    3155 E. 27th Avenue, Vancouver
    Saturday afternoons from 2 pm to 4 pm
    March 15 until April 26

    Each six-week clinic costs $20, or $5 for drop-ins to each session.
Participants can register for the clinics in advance at
www.optimumvolleyball.com/sitting.html.
    For more information about the "Train and Play" sitting volleyball
clinics, visit www.optimumvolleyball.com.
    To find out more about the sport of sitting volleyball, go to
http://www.paralympic.ca/page?a=302&=en-CA.

    About Canadian Paralympic Committee

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable,
private organization that is recognized by the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC). The CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic
Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian teams to the Paralympic Games.
The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport, at all
levels. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Phil Allen, Volleyball Canada technical
coordinator, (613) 748-5681 ext. 230, pallen@volleyball.ca; Travis Dodds,
Optimum Volleyball co-founder and coach, (778) 329-7040,
travis@optimumvolleyball.com; Norma Reveler, Canadian Paralympic Committee
media relations, (613) 569-4333, ext. 227, norma@paralympic.ca


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