STINISSEN Elvira Johanna (NED) – PVE – Medal winning International Player 2001-2018 – Captain 2008-2018; Interim Chair of new WPV Athlete Commission; Former Member and Vice-Chair of IPC Athletes Council; Member of WPV Classification Review Committee and WPV Awards Committee member; Policy Adviser to NED Ministry of Sport; in the fields of grassroots development, equal opportunities, and governance.

STINISSEN Elvira Johanna – NED – (PVE)


Elvira was born with one leg that was too short and small, but never wanted to compete in disabled sports. When she was 20 years old she started realising that if she wanted more out of sports she had to change her perspective. In the rehabilitation centre, there was a sports advisor who advised me to start playing sitting volleyball and skiing. She started training with Volleer, a club in the Netherlands. A couple of national team members, men and women, and the head coach of the women’s team practiced there as well and it was love at first sight.

“Joze Banfi, our national coach when I started playing sitting volleyball, had the greatest influence on my development. After being classified, a player’s career can move fast. After two years I realised that things were moving very quickly. I felt the urge to quit and stop playing volleyball. It was Joze then who sat in front of me and explained why sitting volleyball was so important to him. He said, ‘Elvira, I hope you choose volleyball.’ After a break and after Athens, which I did not attend, I started playing again and decided that I, same as Joze, wanted to give it all for sitting volleyball and tell everyone how important the sport is.”

Her involvement as a volunteer has been in several fields relating to sitting volleyball, nationally and internationally:

2009-2014: Improving the integration of sitting volleyball in the current sports infrastructure in the Netherlands and within the Dutch federation; clinics and presentations at schools, rehabilitation centres, hospitals, local governments. Setting up social platform to represent Sitting volleyball and sitting volleyball players. Later transferred into volleyball site Nevobo.

Setting up an Athletes Commission within WorldParaVolley with Denis Le Breuilly and Barry Couzner. Made sure connections with athletes from different countries were made, held athletes meetings during World and European Championships to provide information from the athletes perspective.

As a player she attended 20 events (2001-2018) and won several medals. From 2008 to 2018 she was the team captain:

2018 The Netherlands – World Championships – player – 8th place
2017 Croatia – European Championships – player – Bronze Medal
2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Paralympic Games – player – 6th place
2016 Anji, China – Intercontinental Cup – player – Silver Medal & Athletes Representative
2015 Slovenia – European Championships – player – 4th place – Best Attacker Award
2014 Poland – World Championships – player – 4th place & Athletes Representative
2013 Poland – European Championships – player – 4th place & Athletes Representative
2012 London, Great Britain – Paralympic Games – player – 4th place
2011 Rotterdam, The Netherlands – European Championships – player – Silver Medal
2010 Egypt – World Championships – player – Silver Medal
2009 Poland – European Championships – player – Gold Medal
2009 The Netherlands – EuroCup – player – Silver Medal
2008 Beijing, China – Paralympic Games – player – Bronze Medal
2008 Egypt – World Championships – player – Gold Medal
2007 Hungary – European Championships – player – Gold Medal
2006 The Netherlands – World Championships – player – Gold Medal
2005 Germany – European Championships – player – Gold Medal
2003 Finland – European Championships – player – Gold Medal
2002 Slovenia – Gold medal, WC, Slovenia, player
2001 Latvia – EuroCup – player – Gold Medal

Awards received:

2015 European Championships – Best Attacker
2018 Outstanding achievement
2018 The Golden Federation award from Nevobo
2020 World ParaVolley Recognition Award

Official posts held:

Since 2013: Policy Officer, Sports Department, Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. I work in grassroots sports on strengthening sports in the social domain advising the Dutch Minister on Sports policy. My main focus is to make sports accessible for everyone no matter what gender, nationality, physical boundaries etc. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience sports at their own level.
2011-2013: Member Athletes Council Netherlands
2011-2014: Policy coordinator sitting volleyball, Nevobo. Improving the integration of sitting volleyball in the current sports infrastructure in the Netherlands and within Nevobo. In 2012 Nevobo did not see the importance of the elite sport sitting volleyball.
2012-2015: Chair Sitting Volleyball Association Council, Netherlands
2012-2016: Participation Ambassador of Randstad Netherlands
2013-2018: Interim Chair World ParaVolley Athletes Commission
2012-2019: Founder/proprietor, Elvira Stinissen Sport-ability, The Hague. In 2012, I founded Elvira Stinissen Sport-ability. The organisation stands for the possibilities that sports offer to people with and without disabilities. After retirement from the National team I closed this organisation, because I can fulfil this within my job at the ministry.

Volunteer, contribution for sitting volleyball and sports for people with a disability

Since 2021: Member of World ParaVolley Awards Committee
Since 2021: Member of the Sports Advisory council in Den Haag
2012-2020: Member Athletes Council IPC
2013-2020: Vice Chair IPC Athletes Council
2016-2020: Board member of the European Paralympic Committtee
2017-2018: Working in World ParaVolley Classification Review Commission
2012-2016: Chair, NEVOBO Policy Advisory Team for the development of sitting volleyball