It was an evening full of reunions between athletes, coaches, referees and those who work behind the scenes to make volleyball a top sport in the country.
The sport first came to the region in the 1930’s beginning as a way for people to relax after a long day of work in the fields.
Volleyball gradually became a professional sport, with the relentless work of coach Micha Shamban almost single-handedly creating the first national teams.
For his efforts, Shamban received a life-time achievement award from the Israeli Volleyball Association presented by second-generation players in the Youth Volleyball Academy.
The evening was opened by president of Israel Volleyball Association Jacob Shtofman, who translated a welcome message from FIVB President Jizhong Wei to the participants.
Shtofman continued the short story of the development of the sport over the years, culminating in the Youth Volleyball Academy, which helps create the next-generation of players for Israel.
Alongside a 3D multimedia presentation of the history of volleyball, many speakers from past generations shared their volleyball memories. Among them, president of the Israeli National Olympic Committee Warshawjak, head of the Sports Commission Dr Shefer, former member of Knesset A. Vilan, Dr Arie Selinger – the most decorated Israeli coach and head of the special development program, and many other players, coaches and founders.
In the closing speech of the event, the general manager of the IVA Yaniv Noyman expressed deep gratitude to all the participants. He was joined on stage by all the current members of the national team: girls, boys, women and men in a touching moment.
Some statistics of Volleyball in Israel:
• 5,000 registered players:
o 2,000 in the IVA
o 3,000 in the School Federation
• 450 teams, men and women:
o 180 in the IVA
o 270 in the School Federation