2024 WPV Final Paralympics Qualifier: Slovenia and Ukraine make it from Dali to Paris

The 2024 WPV Sitting Volleyball Final Paralympics Qualifiers for Men and Women, presented by Delin Company, has concluded, with Slovenia and Ukraine emerging victorious in the final round and earning their tickets to the upcoming Paralympic Games in Paris.

Slovenia’s journey from Dali to Paris was nothing short of spectacular, culminating in a heart-stopping 3-2 (25-13, 11-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13) victory over Iran in the women’s final. Valentyna Brik’s brave showing on their final match of the tournament helped Slovenia showcase their dominance in their unbeaten run.

“It was an extremely tough match, but we knew from the beginning that we could make it. We just needed to believe in ourselves. It was a great game, and I am just proud of this team today,” Slovenia captain Lena Gabrscek said.

“I really love Dali City. It’s super nice. Special thanks to all the volunteers. They were all amazing. Thank you to everyone who made this tournament special, and even more memorable for us with this win.

“First, we have to process this win. We knew we could make it to Paris, but now, it’s an equally tough road as we prepare. We have to train hard and do our best to be ready.

“I think that we did a really amazing job. Slovenia is such a small country so even just to form a team is a difficult process. We did a great job, thanks to our support team, our coaches, everyone who believed in us. The most important thing is we believed in ourselves. I think that’s what made us stronger than ever in today’s match.

“I would like the world to know more about Slovenian Paravolley. We may be a small nation, but we are super competitive. We are really strong as a team, and that’s what makes us special.”

“It was a very difficult process for us, with a new and young team. And it was just that the girls really wanted to qualify for the Paralympic Games. That’s what’s in their hearts. This is the reason why we trained so hard, and they did all the hard work in this competition. I just really want to congratulate my team,” Slovenia coach Simon Bozic added.

“We started this journey in 2022. We focused on one clear goal – to go to Paris. We played in the World Championship, European Championship, and then the World Cup. Each time, just getting close to our goal but not completely achieving it. Now, we have finally achieved what we have dreamt for.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine exacted sweet revenge against the United States in the men’s final, securing a 3-0 (25-17, 32-30, 25-18) victory and their place in Paris. Denys Bytchenko and Roman Pryshchepa led the charge for the Ukrainian team, orchestrating a spectacular comeback after their narrow defeat to the USA in the preliminary round.

“This medal here in Dali and this ticket ot Paris is just a great feeling to have. I am very proud that our team competed a very good level in this competition that we can get to play in the Paralympics,” Ukraine captain Denys Bytchenko said.

“After this trip to Dali, we just want to celebrate a little with our families. We will celebrate this victory wherever we can. Then we can go back to work.

“Our new players are performing well and we are training really hard. This will be important as we prepare for Paris.”