Inside Events: World ParaVolley | Sports Destination Management

Inside Events: World ParaVolley

An Interview with Barry Couzner OAM, President
Oct 21, 2022 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

All photos courtesy of World ParaVolley

World ParaVolley aims to deliver a variety of the highest quality volleyball programs and competitions for athletes with a physical impairment through the implementation of effective governance, development, training, education, research and event management activities.

Sports Destination Management: How many competitive events does World ParaVolley put on each year, and in which disciplines?

Barry Couzner: Here is a listing of what we offer.

Sitting Volleyball Discipline – for both genders

  • World Championships – every four years, held two years after the Paralympic Games, e.g., 2022, 2026
  • Final Qualifier for World Championships – every four years, held in the year of the World Championships
  • World Cup – every two years, held in the odd years, e.g.,  2023, 2025
  • World Super 6 – every two years, held in the odd years, e.g., 2023, 2025
  • Final Qualifier for the Paralympic Games – every four years in the year of the PG
  • Zone Championships – every two years in Europe, Asia/Oceania/Africa and Pan America, e.g., 2023, 2025
  • World Club Championships – as required

World ParaVolleyBeach ParaVolley (Standing) Discipline – for both genders

  • World Championship Series – our aim is to hold four events every year
  • World Championships – every two years

It should be noted that we are seeking participation in the LA28 Paralympic Games for beach paravolley. We have been included in the 2023 Mediterranean Beach Games, and we are working with International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWASF) to include beach paravolley in their events.

Other supported events

These are events that are owned by other organizations, but ones which we support and provide expertise

  • Paralympic Games – every four years
  • ASEAN Para Games – 2022 Indonesia
  • Invictus Games – 2022 (NED) and 2023 (GER)
  • IWAS World Games and Guttman Games
  • Asian Para Games – 2023 China
  • European Para Games
  • African Para Games – 2023 Ghana
  • Para Pan-American Games
  • Youth Parapan American Games – 2023 Colombia

SDM: How are locations for these events chosen?

Couzner: We openly advertise to our members across the world who lodge an EoI and Bid documents. The Sport Director makes a recommendation to the WPV Board. Where possible, we also advertise to city governments.

World ParaVolleySDM: What factors are taken into consideration in terms of selecting locations to host events?

Couzner: there are several factors; they are as follows:

  • Their ability to deliver the event to WPV standards – personnel with experience
  • Facilities for sitting volleyball or beach ParaVolley
  • Location
  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Media capacity
  • Accessibility (an international airport)
  • Government stability, safety and visa requirements
  • Event legacy and benefits for the future of the discipline

SDM: How can destinations indicate an interest in hosting events?

Couzner: They can contact the General Manager who is the hub of communications within WPV. The e-mail address is

SDM: Do you think awareness of World ParaVolley – and the events it offers – is growing, and if so, to what do you attribute that growth?

Couzner: Yes – awareness is growing. A large part of this is because of our relationship with the International Paralympic Committee, which promotes para sport. We are also working on generating new members in each of the Zones. (“Members” may be a paravolley organization, the NPC or the volleyball national federation). At each event we run, we continue to classify new athletes which is a good indicator. In addition, we are focusing on beach paravolley in the coming years as a new discipline that will appeal to a different cohort of athlete.

SDM: Is there any one specific discipline in which you are seeing interest or growth, more than others?

World ParaVolleyCouzner: Not specifically at the moment. Our focus is on both sitting volleyball and beach paravolley, and the latter is set to explode in the coming years!

SDM: What is the demographic in World ParaVolley – more women, more men or an equal split?

Couzner: In general, we have more male teams than female teams. For cultural reasons, some countries will not support female teams, but we are trying to change this and recently, some countries have developed female teams, e.g., Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan. The former has developed a female team because they are hosting the 2022 Sitting Volleyball World Championships – an example of a positive legacy. On the administration side of things, we have 67 percent of our commissions led by men and 33 percent by women. This needs further work.

SDM: Are there any initiatives in place to grow participation among youth or any other specific initiatives you’d like to note?

Couzner: We support the technical development of coaches within our membership; after all, coaches are the ones who develop teams at the grass roots level. We support the Youth Para Games in areas such as Asia and Pan America.

What else would you like to point out about World ParaVolley?

Couzner: Two important aspects:

World ParaVolleyVolunteerism: An incredible fact is that World ParaVolley is essentially run by volunteers – the only staff we have is the General Manager who works for us three days per week. All other activity for World ParaVolley is led by volunteers (including me!) and we have about 130 volunteer leaders involved in our Commission and Committee structure from all over the world.

Events: We are very willing to communicate with any suitable organizations, destinations or cities that wish to host our future events for athletes with a physical impairment.

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