Steadward Talks: The Past, Present and Future of Sitting Volleyball

How did sitting volleyball become so popular? Find out by listening to the Steadward Talks, hosted by David Legg, Eli Wolff, and special guest Robert Steadward.

Speakers include World ParaVolley Founding President Pieter Joon, Chief Historian Kwok Ng, Head of Classification Jenni Cole, and General Manager Phil Allen.

Pieter Joon, Founding President of World ParaVolley. Pieter has experience as a player, referee, coach and in 1965 started administrative roles in volleyball. He was instrumental in getting sitting volleyball as part of the Summer Paralympic Programme in 1980 and later became the First President of World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD) until 2001 and became the Honorary President. He has worked on the boards and committees of the ISMGF, ISOD, ICC, IPC as well as the NOC*NSF.


Kwok Ng is the current World ParaVolley Chief Historian, Vice President of the European Federation of Adapted Physical Activity, and European representative to the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activiy (IFAPA) board. Kwok has led the history project and has uncovered some of the earliest evidence of volleyball played by sitting down as early as the 1940s as well as captured and shared information through podcasts.


Jenni Cole is currently the Head of Classifier Education and one of the Classification Management Group for World ParaVolley. Her early involvement was as the National Team Physiotherapist for the Australian Standing Volleyball team at the World Championship in Olstyn, Poland in 1997. She was national team physiotherapist for both sitting and standing volleyball teams for several years. She commenced training as an international classifier in 1997, achieving international certification in 1999. In Sydney 2000 Jenni was the Medical Coordinator for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games organizing committee, and also one of the international classifiers for ParaVolley at that event.

Phil Allen has been heavily involved in parasport since 2001, when he began as Volleyball Canada’s Manager of ParaVolley and Referee Programs. He has more recently provided consulting services to various Canadian volleyball groups and to the Canadian Paralympic Committee on multiple sport development projects. Phil has been head of Delegation for Team Canada at numerous World and Zonal Championships, and has represented Canada at multiple Paralympic Games as part of the mission team. Prior to his involvement in sport management, Phil worked in the sport and cultural event planning industry.


The Steadward Talks are co-hosted by the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity and Disability in Sport International. The talks are conversations with global leaders that examine the origins and future of inclusion in sport, focusing specifically on athletes with a disability.