The sitting volleyball match highlighted the versatility of the sport
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 7, 2016 – In many cities around the world, strong winds and the threat of rain would send most people indoors. But not in Rio, where even strong winds did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants at the Copacourts on the Copacabana beach.
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The highlight of the day was a sitting volleyball match, a sport which will feature on this year’s Paralympic programme. Putting the able bodied players through their paces, was Carlos Barbosa a Brazilian Paralympic sitting volleyball player who competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, finishing 5th.
He was joined by former Brazilian setter Mauricio Lima who won Olympic gold at the Games in Barcelona (1992) and Athens (2004) as well as Serbia’s Vladimir Grbic who was a gold medallist at the Olympic Games in Sydney (2000). Completing the line-up was former US beach volleyball player and five time World Champion, Randy Stoklos. "I am honoured to have had this unique opportunity to play with colleagues who have been an important part of the history of volleyball,” said Barbosa.
The party atmosphere on the Copacourts was certainly an important factor in drawing in the large crowds, who have come from all over the world to experience the magic of this iconic location.
First time visitors to Rio included 17-year old Stepan Scekié, who is accompanied by his mother Valentina and sister Martha. Volleyball player Stepan relished the chance to try out a new version of the sport and benefit from the beach atmosphere. "The fellowship with athletes and the festive spirit of the local people is wonderful," he said.
Rounding off a busy day was the Oakley Challenge, which took place on the LED net court pitting 25 young executives of the American sports eyewear brand against Mauricio Lima, Vladimir Grbic, Randy Stoklos and Rio’s Jackie Silva who won the gold medal in the inaugural women's beach volleyball tournament at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The Oakley Challenge provided an opportunity for the brand to test their newly designed eye wear with Donatella Caggiano, Director of Oakley confirming that the field test was “absolutely positive".
The Copa Courts, situated in front of the Volleyball House, will be open to the public throughout the duration of the Games in Rio and will host a range of exciting activities including Viva Vôlei and bossaball clinics for the whole family.