A workshop was held at the ASEAN Para Games in Solo to discuss sitting volleyball ©Getty Images

Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines have unanimously agreed to cooperate more in regards to the development of sitting volleyball in the Southeast Asian region.

A workshop was staged during the 11th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Para Games in Indonesia at the Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel, which involved a panel, team representatives, international technical officials (ITOs), and solo 2022 Organising Committee members.

Those in attendance shared their thoughts on the status of the sport in each country and how they could promote it within the region.

Irene Chang, technical delegate for sitting volleyball, Stefanie Ang, sports and technical director of the ASEAN Para Sports Federation, and Ebrahim Firouzi, ParaVolley Asia Oceania Referees Commissioner, were present at the meeting.

"The main priority of each country is to find potential athletes for the team and the next priority is to select the best and train them for the national team," Firouzi said.

"Finding a good coach and improving the knowledge of coaches and players must be of utmost importance.

"There should also be stable leadership to be able to manage and plan the programmes, which could eventually create more opportunities such as leagues and competitions in the country, and overseas training camps for athletes and coaches.

"Likewise there should be investment to update the knowledge of the referees, also finding potential talents - male and female - to attend refereeing courses."

Ebrahim Firouzi has set out a brief plan for how Southeast Asian teams can further sitting volleyball ©Getty Images
Ebrahim Firouzi has set out a brief plan for how Southeast Asian teams can further sitting volleyball ©Getty Images

Assistant coach Sakkarat Sri-iam expressed that with the help of the Thai Government, they were able to attract foreign coaches to aid their team development.

Nevertheless, coach Rosemarie Prochina highlighted how the pandemic has set back the sport in the Philippines.

"The Philippines was able to form a sitting volleyball team because of the 2019 ASEAN Para Games, but unfortunately that was cancelled due to the pandemic," Prochina said.

"We were able to continue the programme through virtual training and our National Paralympic Committee supported us to participate in this edition."

Indonesia, which won the women’s gold medal this year, reflected that their national sitting volleyball teams programme began when Solo staged the 2011 edition of the Games.

Chang recommended to hold another session prior to the 2023 ASEAN Para Games in Cambodia, which could include an experienced coach to provide greater insight.

The technical delegate also began the process to form a working group to arrange a future tournament following suggestions from the meeting.

Cambodia achieved gold in the men’s sitting volleyball event while Thailand won silver and Indonesia achieved bronze.

Thailand also finished runners-up in the women’s event while Cambodia placed third.