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Shen Yugong won her 3rd Paralympic Gold Medal in Sitting Volleyball (in a row) at London 2012 and has been the one of the sports best attackers for over a decade.  


To read all about her background and how she got into Sitting Volleyball please click on her name above or HERE.

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Central Resource Base
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Click on a country to find out more information and read their sitting volleyball 'player stories'.

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Irina Smirnova (Russia, No. 13)

‘My injury happened in my early childhood, so I didn't even think about any kind of sporting activity, and definitely not sport of high achievements.  At that time I didn't know anything about Paralympic sports in Russia.  I was an ordinary person with a normal life the same as many people in Russia or anywhere else.  But I was always looking for such activity, which would be able to improve myself.


Almost 20 years ago I knew about sport for disabled. First it was wheelchair basketball. I played for the St. Petersburg men’s team, because the women's team failed to save.  At that time, I dreamed being a part of Russias Wheelchair Basketball Team, but it was impossible. So I had to look for a new sport.


In 2006 I heard about Sitting Volleyball and met with the coach and the team. I had no idea that it was so technically difficult, but at the same time such an interesting and breathtaking sport.

Irina Smirnova

Sitting volleyball not only is characterized by its speed and hard hits but also the clever solutions and considerable physical and psychological endurance of players.


Today our team is much stronger than before because we all clearly see the goal which we want to achieve. I am ready to give the maximum to help my team to be the best it can be. I'm sure in the future we will have many bright victories!'