Women's Sports Foundation awards U.S. Women's Sitting $5K grant

By Karen Patterson (Karen.patterson@usav.org) | July 13, 2016, 1:54 p.m. (ET)

WSFCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 13, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team received a boost in its ongoing efforts to grow the sport and become the top team in the world thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation.

The grant award also includes a year-supply of Gatorade product to support the team.

“The Women’s National Sitting Team is appreciative of the Women’s Sport Foundation and their willingness to provide a grant to assist athletes with limited resources," Head Coach Bill Hamiter said. "The grant benefits us now and in the future to reach our goal of sustained competitive excellence.”

The Travel & Training Fund aims to assist individual female athletes and women’s sports teams by reducing financial strain incurred through travel expenses, training costs and supplies. The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team will use the funds to bring new athletes to the program’s A2 training camps.

RELATED: Women’s Sitting Team Home | Women’s Paralympic Sitting Team Roster

The A2 program is for individuals who have been identified as potential national team athletes but first must learn or improve their sitting volleyball skills. About 10 members of the national team first participated in the A2 training program.

“Because the A2 budget is so limited, we sometimes are unable to provide any assistance with flights or mileage to attend camps,” Program Coordinator Elliot Blake said. “This funding will help us ensure that we can at least provide a 50 percent reimbursement to the ladies that attend camps, making it easier on them to attend and grow within the game.”

This year the Women’s Sports Foundation awarded 30 individual athletes and three women’s teams a combined $127,500. The recipients come from 19 sports in 22 states. In addition to the Paralympic-bound Women’s Sitting Team, eight other recipients are hopefuls or are qualified for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, including Paralympic shooter Tammy Delano and wheelchair basketball’s Desiree Miller.

A full list of the recipients can be found here.

“When athletes prepare for such competitive play, the costs can be a financial burden to not only themselves, but also their families,” said Deborah Slaner Larkin, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation said in a press release. “The Women’s Sports Foundation and Gatorade are thrilled to provide much needed financial fuel through the Travel & Training Fund, so that female athletes can focus on becoming their best.”

The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team currently is ranked No. 2 worldwide and hopes to win its first Paralympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro this September. In both the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic gold medal match, the team fell to worldwide No. 1 China.

However, the team recently defeated China in both pool play and the gold medal match of the 2016 World ParaVolley Intercontinental Cup, and again on July 3 at the Dutch Tournament in Assen, Netherlands. The 2016 Paralympics begin Sept. 7, and run through Sept. 18.