Athletes with intellectual disabilities show off their skills at the World’s Biggest Beach Volleyball Tournament
Unified on the World Stage
One of the World’s greatest ever volleyball players, Vladimir Grbić, will join Polish volleyball stars to play alongside Special Olympics athletes in a Unified Volleyball game at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, to promote greater respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.
Taking place on Centre Court at Stare Jablonki on Sunday, July 7th before the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship Finals, the All Star game will feature four Special Olympics athletes from Poland and Serbia playing alongside Olympic medalist Vladimir Grbić as well as former Poland national players; Sebastian Swiderski, Pawel Papke, Zygmunt Chajzer and Cezary Pazura.
This Unified Volleyball® exhibition game, will bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics in helping to unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion. It will also serve as the perfect opportunity to celebrate Vladimir Grbić ’s new role as Special Olympics Ambassador for Volleyball and the appointment of Paul Papke and Sebastian Swiderski as Ambassadors for Special Olympics Poland.
Prior to the all-star game, Special Olympics athletes will demonstrate to fans how a Unified Volleyball game works with an exhibition match with teammates without intellectual disabilities. Each team will consist of two players with intellectual disabilities and two without.
“The participation of Special Olympics at the Star Jablonki Championships is a great honour for us - saysVladimir Grbić , Special Olympics Ambassador for Volleyball. “To showcase the power of Special Olympics Unified Sports on such a huge global stage like this presents an incredible opportunity for Special Olympics to increase awareness and educate communities about acceptance and inclusion for all people.”
Stare Jablonki Championships is the biggest beach volleyball tournament in the world. The 192 best athletes in the world will play at the specially prepared courts. The Championship will be transmitted to nearly 1.65 billion TV viewers in over 130 countries across five continents.
Unified Volleyball is quickly growing in Poland. To date 100 Special Olympics athletes play volleyball with trainings and games taking place on a daily basis throughout the country. Worldwide more than 100,000 Special Olympics athletes compete in Volleyball across 100 National Programmes. In In 2012 Special Olympics signed a partnership agreement with the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) designed to promote greater opportunities in Volleyball for athletes with intellectual disabilities.