Vienna, Austria, July 29, 2017 – Four Austrian teams made their debuts in the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Vienna presented by A1 on Friday but they were not the only local volleyball players to experience the joy of playing in front of their home fans on the first day of the tournament.
Austria’s Special Olympics Volleyball Team was invited to play a celebration match on one of the courts of the FIVB’s Volleyball Your Way programme. There, they performed in front of their home fans and were joined by Austria’s national team setter Alexander Tusch.
“It was very fun to play here, we enjoyed it a lot”, said player Isabella Andra. “It’s always good when we can play in front of the fans and they cheer for us. It’s always important when we can be present in great events like this and show that there are other games in life to be won”.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, comprising almost 5 million athletes in 172 countries. The movement has a long-time partnership with the FIVB which facilitates actions like the one in Vienna.
“We partnered with FIVB back in 2011,” said Special Olympics Director of Organizational Development Kryzstof Krukowski. “FIVB has volleyball as a very inclusive sport, one that can be played by anyone, and we want to be part of it. It’s obviously important for us being present at huge events like this to increase the awareness about the Special Olympics but it’s also amazing for the athletes from an inclusion standpoint. They love volleyball, so why couldn’t they play at a competitive level?”