World ParaVolley appoints Debbie Masauvakalo of Vanuatu as Vice President

Vanuatu’s Debbie Masauvakalo (middle) receives the IOC Women and Sports Award. ©️ Greg Martin/IOC

The Board of Directors for World ParaVolley appointed Debbie Masauvakalo (VAN) to the position of Vice President, filling a vacancy created with the succession of Lori Okimura (USA) to the position of President after the retirement of Barry Couzner OAM (AUS).

The Board made its selection at the recent virtual board meeting held on February 19. Masauvakalo will fill the role through the completion of the 2024 WPV General Assembly, foreseen to be held at the end of the year after the Paralympic Games.

Vanuatu’s Debbie Masauvakalo

“It is a great honour that the World ParaVolley Board has voted me as their Vice President. I hope to help increase WPV membership and participation in paravolley throughout the Oceania region, especially in the Pacific Islands where volleyball is one of the biggest participation sports, and it is the only sport that both men and women play together in rural communities,” Masauvakalo said.

 “With the support from WPV and PVAO we have been developing both sitting volleyball and beach paravolley in Vanuatu through the Volley4Change Program so that people of all abilities have the opportunity to play the sport.”

Masauvakalo, President of the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation, directs programmes for paravolley, volleyball and beach volleyball. She is an experienced leader in the international sports community with a focus on fundraising and development, governance, administration and management, and has extensive experience in relationship building with government agencies and non-profit organisations.

She serves in leadership positions with the FIVB (Beach Volleyball Commission), Asian Volleyball Confederation (Beach Volleyball Committee), is a member of the Commonwealth Games Beach Volleyball Committee as an Oceania representative and serves as a member of the Vanuatu Women in Sports Commission.

In 2019, Masauvakalo received the International Olympic Committee IOC Women and Sport Award for the Oceania region, and the years prior in 2017-2018 received Administrator of the Year recognition by the Vanuatu National Olympic Committee. She is a graduate of the University of Queensland in Australia with a degree in applied science.

“It is great to have Debbie’s energy and experience engaged on the WPV Board and within the organisation, especially with her governance background and experience in the international sports community,” said Lori Okimura, World ParaVolley president.

“Her expertise in the area of beach volleyball in the Oceania region and around the world will support our global activities as we seek inclusion of beach paravolley in the Brisbane 2032 Paralympic Games.”

World ParaVolley is the International Federation responsible for the global governance, planning and management of all disciplines of volleyball for persons with a physical disability including the emerging discipline of beach paravolley and the Paralympic discipline of sitting volleyball.