Former Harlem volleyball player Peter John was officially inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in America last weekend. In his speech, he stressed that the organization’s recognition puts volleyball on the international map. “Seated volleyball players deserve this place in volleyball, they belong and are considered full.”
Peter John introduced seating volleyball as an official worldwide discipline at the 1980 Paralympic Games and since then has always been committed to the international sport of Paralympic. His goal is to bridge the gap between volleyball and volleyball in a seated position. By being appointed to the Hall of Fame, this goal became one step closer.
The International Volleyball Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of volleyball since 1971, and is headquartered in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Previously, Olympic champions Peter Planje, Ronald Zwerver, Bas van de Goor and Dutch coach Jupp Alberda were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In his speech, John described his entry as a reward for all sitting volleyball players and called on volleyball associations to pay more attention to seated volleyball. “Many athletes who were subsequently injured have stopped playing and the unions are letting them go,” he told NH Nieuws. “Every year in the Netherlands about a hundred thousand athletes stop due to injury, and it is the responsibility of those sports organizations to take care of these people.”
The importance of sports
John stresses that exercise is very important, especially for people with disabilities. “It makes you conditionally fit and you gain confidence, making it easier for you to get back into society,” he explains. That is why he believes that sports federations should offer seated volleyball as an alternative. “It’s equally fun and that way you can keep playing volleyball.”
The Volleyball Hall of Fame now includes a display case with photos, information and prizes from Joon. That locker will remain for a year after which his portrait will be hung on the wall among the other volleyball greats.
eye for life
The eighty-year-old volleyball pioneer has no intention of stopping now that he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame. Only when the guilds received his message would he think of taking a step back. “Then I might have more time with my grandson. But I’m set for life, so they can’t get around me.”
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