2020 Interview with World ParaVolley Founding President Pieter Joon, by Kwok NG historian for World ParaVolley
In my opinion a weaker one in a good team always gets stronger
I had the opportunity to interview the Founding and Honoury President of World ParaVolley Pieter Joon at his home during the summer of 2019. On a quiet, yet sunny day in Haarlem, the Netherlands, we sat outside in the tranquil back garden to talk about him and the history of sitting volleyball.
Please introduce yourself
My name is Pieter Joon, I was born in 1942, in Amsterdam. I contracted the Polio virus in late 1944 when I was 2 ½ years old. In hospital, I was put into an iron lung for over 4 months. After more than 6 surgeries with muscle diversions on the legs, I taught myself to walk at the age of 13.
What was your involvement with volleyball?
My first contacts were in regular Volleyball, as coach, referee, board member region west of the Volleyball Federation and then after 1961 my activitiess in Sitting Volleyball and in the Board of the Dutch National Fed. for disableds. I played in the Kennemer Invaliden Sportclub (KIS) where Anton Albers and Tammo van der Scheer had created the game of sitting volleyball.
What did you have to do to get sitting volleyball into the Paralympic Games in 1980?
The great diversity of "Sit"ball games caused frustrations in many sports encounters between the German, Scandinavian and Dutch clubs. Moreover, during an international tournament in May 1976 in Bonn, it became clear to me that these differences were the reason why only Standing Volleyball was invited to the 1976 Toronto Games. After Arnhem was announced as the organizers for the 1980 games, I organized a test sitting volleyball tournament in 1979. The 1979 tournament was for me the right time to get Europe on the same page, the Volleyball line. I had to convince Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, and Belgium to leave their hard work over the years from 1944 till 1980,but choose for Sitting Volleyball in the future.
What are some of your personal highlights as President of World ParaVolley, formerly WOVD, and Volleyball Committee of ISOD?
I had many highlights and that gave me a lot of energy.
8 Sitting Volleyball teams in the 1980 Games.
The inauguration of the International Volleyball Committee 1981.
The unanimous decision of the countries to play only with a minimum handicap. This allowed me to secure the character of the game
The Women Sitting Volleyball 1993,
The inauguration of the standalone WOVD in 1994.
My meetings with Samaranch (IOC) and Ruben Acosta (FIVB) to explain my vision on Sitting Volleyball and the need of cooperation or integration with regular Sport Federations.