President Lori Okimura’s vision for a future-forward World ParaVolley

A visionary leader can make all the difference in a sport, where passion and perseverance often intersect. Enter Lori Okimura, who was newly promoted to take on the position of President of World ParaVolley (WPV) and whose track record in revolutionising the business of volleyball and beach volleyball in her country and the international scene heralds a promising era for paravolley on the global stage.

With a rich, storied history in USA Volleyball and a wealth of experience in both the athletic and administrative spheres, Okimura’s ascent to the presidency of WPV brings with a fresh breeze of innovation and inclusivity.

Her vision extends far beyond mere competition, it encompasses a holistic approach aimed at professionalising the organisation, expanding opportunities for athletes and fostering a culture of empowerment.

Central to Okimura’s strategy is the revitalisation of sitting volleyball and beach paravolley – two disciplines poised to captivate audiences worldwide. Recognising its transformative power in uniting communities, she envisions a future where these disciplines are not only celebrated but also integrated into the fabric of global sporting events.

Drawing on her success in cultivating beach volleyball in the USA, and her business background and experience in managing and marketing major sporting events, Okimura is pioneering a model that merges international competitions with local partnerships, and also getting the help of experts and professionals from the able-bodied discipline to produce global beach paravolley and sitting volleyball professional opportunities for the future.

This innovative approach not only promises to elevate the profile of beach paravolley in particular but also create a blueprint for sustainable growth and engagement for all disciplines.

In discussing the beach discipline, she highlighted its unique appeal, emphasising its potential to provide athletes with new avenues for participation and development. The compact team format makes it particularly accessible to nations with emerging Para sport programmes, offering a pathway to high-performance competition and community integration.

Okimura underscores the importance of youth engagement, citing initiatives like the Youth Parapan Am Games as catalysts for nurturing the next generation of Para athletes. Following that model, she views youth involvement as a means of instilling life-enriching values and fostering a culture of inclusivity and empowerment.

Crucially, she champions gender equity as a cornerstone of her vision, striving to ensure that women have equal opportunities to excel both on and off the court. By amplifying the voices of female athletes and leaders, she aims to inspire future generations and challenge societal norms within the sporting landscape.

For Okimura, true success lies not only in the medals won but also in the lives transformed by the sport. Her commitment to equity, innovation and inclusivity underscores a future-forward vision for World ParaVolley – one that transcends boundaries and empowers athletes to reach their fullest potential.

Watch the full interview:

@world.paravolleyPresident Lori Okimura’s vision for a future-forward World ParaVolley

♬ original sound – World ParaVolley