Barry Couzner OAM, President, World ParaVolley announces retirement

In an unexpected announcement, the World ParaVolley President, Barry Couzner OAM, revealed his retirement from volleyball and paravolley activities, effective 31 December 2023.  He had another year to serve as President, but a health issue has prevented him from continuing in the role which he began in October 2014, making this the 10th year of his Presidency.

Vice President Lori Okimura will automatically take over as President until December 2024 and meanwhile a new Vice President will be sought by the Board.

Barry Couzner  OAM, who received an Order of Australia Medal for services to volleyball and paravolley in Australia and internationally, said:

“I am proud of what I have achieved as World ParaVolley President since 2014, together with many other volunteers – it has been an incredible privilege to serve our athletes.  Now it is time to move on and encourage refreshment of the organisation.”

The highlights of his time at the helm include:

  • Stabilising the role of President since 30 October 2014 – his first meeting as President
  • Chairing and attending 43 Board meetings
  • Acting as TD and Jury for many international events since the year 2000
  • Implementing ITO uniforms, grey and blue
  • Negotiating homologation contracts with 5 international Companies over an 8 year period
  • Continuing a financial surplus
  • Initiating the Recognition and Awards system
  • Awarding 15 Honorary Life Memberships
  • Initiating International World ParaVolley Day on 24 April each year
  • Initiating the Zone Confederation Regulations
  • Supporting the creation, development and update of WPV Commissions and Committees
  • Supporting the History Committee and the Awards Committee in particular
  • Commencing the involvement of athletes on the Board since the 2018 GA
  • Initiating the establishment of World ParaVolley Development Centres
  • Starting the World Super 6 competitions of which 4 have been delivered to date
  • Starting the Final Qualifiers concept for PG and WCs
  • Providing a focus on Standing Beach ParaVolley as a second discipline
  • Developing WPV’s international relationships with IPC, APSO, FIVB, World Abilitysport, the Asian Paralympic Committee, The General Syndicate of Sports Professionals and Beijing Sport University
  • Assisting with the process of identifying hosts for many of WPV’s portfolio of international competitions
  • Updating WPV Governance Policy development

Mr Couzner thanked the myriad of people who have worked with him over the years, including his wife Leonie Couzner who had supported him in volleyball and paravolley for more than 5 decades.

Finally, Mr Couzner said:

“It still astounds me what we have been able to achieve for our athletes as an almost wholly volunteer driven IF.  We should all be proud of that.  WPV is older than the IPC and has participated in 12 Paralympic Games to date – remarkable!

I am looking forward to a different future focus for Leonie and me.

For your great support over the years, my sincere thanks to all of the WPV community!  “

Note:  As of 1 January 2024, the President will be Lori Okimura, available on