The Jakarta Post
Volleyball is always a fun sport to watch as it involves team work, agility and explosive bursts. However, many may not know that it can be played from a seated position, called sitting volleyball, which is equally compelling despite it being less aggressive.
Sitting volleyball, played by athletes who have a disability that impacts the function of their lower limbs, is being competed at the 2018 Asian Para Games.
Just like the stand-up version, it is played by six players on each team. The teams are separated by a lower net and players try to score points by grounding the ball on the other side of the court.
The game, played on a smaller court, requires players to maintain contact between their pelvis and the floor at all times.
For Anissa Tindy Lestary, the captain of the Indonesian sitting volleyball team, the game was quite challenging when she started playing it.
The 28-year old athlete used to be a volleyball player before she broke her leg and pelvis in an accident. In 2016, she started playing sitting volleyball and learned the hand techniques for the game.
“I had to adapt to the game [techniques] in the beginning. But Alhamdulillah[praise to God], now I’m used to it,” Anissa told The Jakarta Post after a match on Wednesday.
The training sessions paid off with Anissa being named the best receiver at the 2018 Women’s World Super 6 sitting volleyball tournament in Chengdu, China, in May.
Sitting volleyball needs great chemistry between the players. Anissa said, as captain, she always tried to keep her teammates close by maintaining good communication.
“We hang out a lot and share problems on and off the court,” she added.
In the game at Tennis Indoor, Senayan, on Wednesday, the Indonesian women’s team was defeated by China, both during the qualifiers and semifinal match.
On Thursday, they take on Japan for a bronze medal.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian men’s team suffered defeat at the hands of South Korea.
Despite the defeat, Indonesian spectators cheered on the home team because they were inspired by their competitive spirit.
Dennis Destryawan, 27, a resident of Bekasi, West Java, used his off day from work to watch the game with his friends.
Dennis said the empty seats at the venue were a disgrace because he believed that the players really needed support.
“If people don’t want to watch the game because they pity the athletes, it is so wrong. We have to give support and appreciation to the athletes who play despite their disabilities.”
By supporting the athletes, people could participate in the effort to end discrimination against people with disabilities, he added.
Indonesian coach Matsuri said the team would train harder in preparation of the 2019 ASEAN Para Games.
They had trained for about eight months prior to the Asian Para Games and also flew to Malaysia for sparring sessions, the coach added.
Training sitting volleyball players required a special approach because each of them came from different backgrounds with regards to their disabilities, Matsuri said. “You need a personal touch to train each of the players. After that, we train them as a group.”