ParaVolley judge books global ticket

ParaVolley judge books global ticket

Canberra’s Michael Fitzpatrick recently returned from the 2023 ParaVolley Asia Oceania Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.

As an experienced referee, the sport has taken him to a number of locations across the world, and at this tournament he was attending alongside fellow Australians technical delegate Glenn Steward, jury member Weiping Wei and referee delegate Stephan Giugni OAM.

Volleyball Australia caught up with Michael upon his return to find out more about his experience and where ParaVolley is headed in Australia. 

Q: How was your experience at the 2023 World ParaVolley Asian Zone Championships?
A: I had a very positive experience at the Championships. The opportunity to work with experienced ParaVolley officials from across the Zone while also receiving feedback from very experienced referee observers is invaluable.

Q: Are you solely officiating in ParaVolley or do you referee across the sport?
A: I am also an international referee for ‘classic’ Volleyball and a Level 3 referee in Beach Volleyball.

Q: How long have you been officiating in ParaVolley domestically and/or internationally? What got you into it?
A: My first taste of ParaVolley was at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia.

I subsequently attended the Level 2 World ParaVolley Referee Course in Thailand in 2019.

The global pandemic limited the opportunity to participate in further events until the 2023 World ParaVolley Asian Zone Championships.

Q: There is a renewed focus on ParaVolley in Australia. Is the sport heading in the right direction?
A: I was fortunate to be able to attend and participate in a recent ParaVolley camp run by Volleyball Australia in Canberra. The attendance at this event by a number of potential coaches and players from around Australia is a clear indication that there is an interest and passion to see ParaVolley grow within Australia.

The potential to see Beach ParaVolley in future Paralympic Games and confirmation that Australia has a place in the 2032 Paralympic Games in Brisbane there are many opportunities for ParaVolley to grow in Australia.

Inclusion of Beach ParaVolley players into existing domestic competitions will be important in growing awareness of the opportunities for any athlete of any ability to have a pathway in the sport of volleyball.

While international sitting volleyball requires players to be classified, domestically the game can be played by anyone, regardless of their physical abilities. As more States and Territories include sitting volleyball into their domestic competition structures, knowledge and awareness across the community will grow.

Growth in competitions nationally will provide additional officiating pathways for referees in our community.

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