The first round of men’s sitting volleyball Baltic League got underway this morning in Jelgava, Latvia at the Zemgales Olimpiskais Centrs.
Latvija I and Tallinn SVC met for the first match of the competition, with the Latvians coming out ahead. Feniksas Vilnius played Latvija II in the second set of the competition, with the Vilnius side blanking Latvija II 3 – 0.
The competition features teams from all three Baltic countries. A four round league, the next leg will take place in Tallinn, Estonia in May, with the third leg taking place in Traķos, Lithuania in June, the fourth leg taking in Kaunas, Lithuania in October, with the finals taking place in Līvānos, Latvia in December. Andris Ulmanis, Latvia’s men’s national team coach, has been a key player in helping organize the competition.
Sitting volleyball is not particularly developed in any Baltic country, with no country having competed at the Paralympic level. The European Committee Volleyball for Disabled (ECVD) lists 5 club teams each from Lithuania and Latvia, but none from Estonia. ECVD data for 2007 says that there were only 60 sitting volleyball players, both male and female, total in each country. As of January 1 of this year, Estonia did not have a ranked men or women’s team. Latvia only had a men’s team and it was ranked 25th in the world. Lithuania also had only a men’s team and it was ranked 35th and last in the world.