The beginning

1951: The World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) was established in 1951 and was part of the International Sports Organization for Disabled (ISOD). 

In 1992 the WOVD became its own separate Organization in Barcelona, Spain.

1960: The first Paralympic games were played in 1960 in Rome immediately after the Olympic Games.

1967: The Dutch introduced a new game called sitting volleyball, which was a combination of sitzball and volleyball. 

1978: The ISOD accepted sitting volleyball in its programs.

1979: The first sitting volleyball tournament took place in Haarlem, Netherlands.

Paravolley in Canada

In 1986 the Canadian Amputee Sports Association launched the first, formal, national disabled volleyball program. The purpose of the program was to provide athletes with a disability an opportunity to represent their country on the international stage, in the sport of volleyball. Prior to this, Canada had participated in the sport by forming teams made up of athletes who were active in other sports and could spare the time, at a multi-sport event, to play some volleyball. Although 1986 was Canada's inaugural season, the sport of disabled volleyball had been played for many years. Teams that had been very successful internationally included Poland, Germany and Israel.

In December of 1996 the Canadian Amputee Sports Association appointed one of its Vice-Presidents to act as the director of the volleyball program, with the responsibility of building a winning team and integrating the disabled program into the able body sport group. The recruitment of athletes with a disability, already active in the able body volleyball community, was the first success achieved through the integration process.
In August of 1997 Canada hosted an international competition and defeated the defending World Champions (Poland), the Paralympic Silver Medallists (Slovakia), and the United States. With these victories, Team Canada finished the competition with the best overall record and earned a top world ranking.

Integration of paravolley into VC's programs

After the ratification of a memorandum of understanding between the Canadian Amputee Sports Association and Volleyball Canada in June of 1998, the formal integration process was complete. Volleyball Canada put in place a standing committee for disabled volleyball with the same rights and responsibilities as other working groups such as the Beach Volleyball Committee.

Canadian paravolley results by competitions

At the Paralympic Games

In 1980, Sitting Volleyball was accepted as a Paralympic sport with seven players. In Sydney, Team Canada's Standing Volleyball team made Canadian volleyball history on October 27th, 2000, winning the silver medal at the Paralympic Games. Facing perennial Paralympic champions Germany in the final, Team Canada lost a well-fought match in three straight sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-21). The German team's experience and consistency proved too much for the dynamic Canadian squad.

At the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, women’s Sitting Volleyball was introduced by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The IPC also made a unilateral decision to remove Standing Volleyball from the Games. While this was appealed by the WOVD in 2001 and again in 2004/05, the appeal was narrowly defeated at the 2005 IPC General Assembly.

  • 1976: Toronto - Paralympic Games (not hosted yet with Olympic Games) – 4 teams participated with results: Israel, GB, Finland, Canada
  • 2000: Sydney, Australia - 2nd place – Standing (SILVER)
  • 2004: Athens, Greece – Canada did not qualify any teams
  • 2008: Beijing, China – Canada did not qualify any teams
  • 2012: London, England – Canada did not qualify any teams
  • 2016: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Canadian women (Sitting) qualify through their bronze medal win at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. They finish 7th out of the 8 teams at the Rio Games.

At the World Championships (men - standing volleyball)

  • 1988: Las Vegas – 7th
  • 1990: St-Etienne, France - 8th
  • 1998: Olsztyn, Poland - 5th
  • 2002: Wisla, Poland – Standing Disabled World Championships - GOLD
  • 2004: Mettmann, Germany – GOLD
  • 2006: Roermond, Netherlands – GOLD

(No results for Standing Volleyball after 2006 due to the sport’s removal from the Paralympic Games.  The program transitioned to sitting volleyball in 2007)

At the World Championships (sitting volleyball)

  • 2010: Edmond, Oklahoma (USA) – Women finish 12th and Men finish 15th
  • 2014: Elblag, Poland – no Canadian teams attended

Canadian paravolley through the decades


  • 1976: Toronto - Paralympic Games (not hosted yet with Olympic Games) – 4 teams participated with results: Israel, GB, Finland, Canada
  • 1977: – Edmonton - Canadian Games for the Physically Disabled held in Edmonton, Saskatchewan (gold), Ontario (silver)


  • 1984: New York, USA - Canada had a “make up” volleyball team at the 1984 International Games for the Disabled. 
  • 1987: Canada sent a team to the 1987 Pan-Am Games in Long Island, New York, where Canada won gold in Standing Volleyball
  • 1988: Standing Volleyball World Championships – Las Vegas, USA 


  • 1995: Standing Volleyball European Cup, Poland – 6th
  • 1996: Standing Volleyball Canada Cup, Toronto, Canada – 4th
  • 1997: Standing Volleyball Canada Cup, Montreal, Canada – 2nd
  • 1999: Standing Volleyball Pan American Championship, Laval, Canada –3rd


  • 2000: Sydney Paralympic Games – Standing men’s team – SILVER
  • 2000: Standing Volleyball European Invitational, Wisla, Poland – 3rd
  • 2001: Standing Volleyball World Cup, Puchov, Slovakia – did not attend due to events of 9/11
  • 2001: The International Paralympic Committee unilaterally decided to remove Men’s Standing Volleyball from the slate of events of the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.  IPC rejected the WOVD’s appeal on this.
  • 2003: Standing Volleyball World Cup, Rhodos, Greece – 2nd place (SILVER)
  • 2005: The World Organization of Volleyball for Disabled motion to re-instate Standing Volleyball for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games was narrowly defeated at the 2005 IPC General Assembly.
  • 2005: Standing Volleyball World Cup, Regina, Canada – 1st place (GOLD)
  • 2005: Asia-Oceania Zonal Championship, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Winner, Developmental Cup
  • 2007: Standing Volleyball World Cup, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – 5th place
  • 2007: Canada’s men’s Sitting Volleyball team - 3rd at the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Parapan American Games


  • 2011: Canada’s men’s Sitting Volleyball team -  3rd at the 2011 Guadalajara Parapan American Games
  • 2011: Canada’s women’s Sitting Volleyball team - 3rd at the 2011 Pan Am Zone Championships
  • 2013: Canada’s men’s Sitting Volleyball team -  3rd at the 2013 Pan Am Zone Championships
  • 2014: The World Organization Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) was renamed World ParaVolley
  • 2015: Canadian women’s Sitting Volleyball team won a bronze medal at the TO2015 Parapan American Games and earned a spot at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
  • 2016: Canadian men’s and women’s Sitting Volleyball teams competed at the 2016 World ParaVolley Intercontinental.  Men finished in 6th place in the non-qualified teams competition and women finished in 6th place in the qualified teams competition.
  • 2016: Canada’s Sitting Volleyball team (women) finished in 7th position at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games


Since 2002, Canada’s Men’s Standing Volleyball team has been ranked #1 in the world, defending their 2002 World Championship title in not only 2004, but also in 2006 – a rare 3-peat.   The players have continued to rack up the individual awards as well in that time, impressing the world with their skills.

The team also garnered recognition on the domestic side, being a 4-time finalist for Male Team of the Year at the Canadian Sport Awards (2002-2005), as well as a finalist in the Spirit of Sport Story of the Year Category in 2005 for their work in assisting the Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled) with player and coach development.

Women’s Sitting Volleyball team cracked the top 10 in the World ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Rankings in September 2016, ranked 9th in the world after their performance at the 2016 Intercontinental and at the 2016 Paralympic Games.  The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil was the first-time Canada qualified a sitting volleyball team (men or women).