Celebrating British contributions to standing volleyball

5th July 2021

Celebrating British contributions to standing volleyball

There are just 50 days until the Paralympic Games begin in Tokyo. While Great Britain will not be competing at this year’s Games, as we look forward to watching the world’s very best sitting volleyball teams compete for gold, silver and bronze medals, we also wanted to take a moment to look back and celebrate individuals who have made an impact to standing volleyball in Great Britain and beyond. 

Standing volleyball is most similar to the conventional version of the game. It first appeared at the Paralympic Games in 1976 in Toronto and saw great success before losing its Paralympic status after the Sydney 2000 Games. 

These fantastic figures were all recognised at the World ParaVolley Standing Volleyball Awards in April. Join us in honouring some of Britain’s best. 

Gerard Dillon  

Gerard represented Great Britain in standing volleyball at four Paralympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996) was the best Great British young player at the 1984 Paralympics, and won a bronze medal at the World Standing Volleyball Championships in 1989. Gerard was awarded for his success as a competitor in standing volleyball. 

David McCrae 

David started playing for Team Great Britain in 1979 at the age of 16. He competed in four Paralympic games in standing volleyball (1980, 1984, 1992 and 1996) and won a bronze medal in the 1989 World Standing Volleyball Championships. David was awarded for his success as a competitor in standing volleyball. 

Denis Le Breuilly 

Denis was recognised in three different categories at the Standing Volleyball Awards: refereeing, technical officials and governance. He is World ParaVolley’s secretary of Referees Commission and chairman of Rules of the Game Commission and had an esteemed career as an international referee and referee delegate. Hend has also been a referee delegate at major events including the Paralympic Games. 

As Sports Director and Technical Official, Denis ensured the technical continuation of standing volleyball under WPV Rules and Regulations, particularly in the World Cups in 2009 and 2011.He was the organiser of technical officials courses, classification, refereeing and coaching courses for World ParaVolley, and is responsible for initiating, developing and administering the three-level pathway to international for referees, coaches, classifiers and technical officials. 

Denis has had extensive involvement with the development of volleyball as a coach, referee, tutor and administrator since the late 1970s, but specifically, since 1992, in volleyball for athletes with a physical impairment, through his role as World ParaVolley Sport Director and a member of the Board of Directors. Denis has also been heavily involved with all aspects of volleyball, and he was Interim General Manager from 2006 to 2008, promoting the continuation of standing volleyball after the discipline was excluded from the Paralympics in 2000 by the International Paralympic Committee. 

Gordon Neale OBE 

Gordon was also recognised for his contributions to standing volleyball in three categories: refereeing, technical officials and governance. Gordon’s World ParaVolley career spans over 34 years, from 1984 to 2020. He became the first British sitting volleyball and standing volleyball international referee, and officiated at the Paralympic Games for sitting volleyball and standing volleyball. 

Gordon was a jury member, technical delegate and assistant delegate in international and European events and Paralympic Games. He was also an organiser, consultant, lecturer, commentator and CEO of Disability at Sport England, and he was a member of the British Paralympic Association, representing disabled volleyball and ensuring opportunities were made available for athletes and officials to take part in disabled volleyball, including standing volleyball. 

Gordon was appointed Vice-President of WOVD, from which he retired in 1997, and he was a member of the British Paralympic Association, representing Disabled Volleyball and ensuring opportunities were made available for athletes and officials to take part in disabled volleyball, including standing volleyball. In 2002, Gordon was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his outstanding contribution to disabled sport. 

Jamie Ming 

Jamie was a classifier at the 2007 World Cup, has been World ParaVolley Chair of Anti-Doping Commissions since 2011, and has been a World ParaVolley International Classifier since 2007. Jamie was awarded for his success in classification for standing volleyball. 

The late Len Softley 

Len was a founding member of the Stoke Amputee Athletic Club, which later became the British Amputee Sports Association, he developed the first classification system that was used internationally in standing volleyball, and was elected to and remained a member of the International Sports Federation of the Disabled for many years. Len, who sadly passed away in 2005, was recognised for his contribution to the governance of ParaVolley at the standing volleyball awards. 

The Volleyball Family has so many hardworking volunteers at its heart and we are really proud of the extraordinary work they have done and continue to do to develop volleyball into the best sport it can be. 

Celebrating British contributions to standing volleyball