Sports Science Academic Leader in the School of Health Sciences Professor Rowena Naidoo hosted the inaugural National Sitting Volley Championship from 26 to 28 March on UKZN’s Westville campus.
Naidoo’s keen interest in promoting physical activity and sport among children and adults with disabilities led to the introduction of sitting volleyball in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). She serves as the president of the KZN ParaVolley Association and when ParaVolley South Africa announced its national championship, KZN leapt at the opportunity to host this inaugural tournament.
Although there was limited time to recruit, train and prepare a provincial team Naidoo and the committee were up to the challenge. Players from around KZN were recruited, including university students.
With a complement of 20 players aged 15 to 47, two provincial club teams were formed. Players with a range of disabilities including amputation, paraplegia, and Spina bifida formed part of the UKZN Sports Science Sliders team.
Following less than six weeks’ training, the UKZN team won gold at the championship.
‘Sitting volleyball gives players a sense of belonging and enables them to display their abilities rather than their disability,’ said Naidoo.
The UKZN Sports Science Sliders will continue to promote the sport and focus on the development of coaches throughout the province. ‘Sitting volley needs to be introduced to the school curriculum in special needs schools,’ Naidoo said. She plans to work hand-in-hand with schools, local government, and communities to achieve this vision.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini