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LSN Hosts 8th Annual Princess Diana Memorial Sitting Volleyball Tournament
Six teams from regions throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina competed in the 8th Annual Princess Diana Memorial Sitting Volleyball Tournament in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina. LSN-Bosnia-Herzegovina (LSN-BiH) hosted the Tournament — an event that gives landmine survivors and other people with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their athletic talents.

Most of the participating teams are newly established, including the teams from the Mostar and Brcko Districts. These teams were created through initiatives launched by LSN social support groups in those areas. LSN-Bosnia provided registration assistance and sports uniforms to the team players. For most of the teams, this was one of the first opportunities to compete and gain experience in this sport. The team from Sapna in Northeastern Bosnia won the Tournament.

LSN-BiH Director, Plamenko Priganica, and an official from the Mayor’s office, welcomed the six teams at the opening ceremony. The Tournament was officially opened by the Cantonal Minister Associate for Sports, who serves as President of the
Bosnia-Herzegovina Olympic Committee. Attendees included a number of local disability organizations, disabled sports associations, and representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Two local television stations (municipal and cantonal) and several radio stations covered the event.

LSN Co-founders Jerry White and Ken Rutherford visited Tuzla with Princess Diana in 1997 on what proved to be her last humanitarian mission. During her visit to the mine-affected city, she visited survivors and families of war-injured and dead. She also attended a sitting volleyball competition and met with the players. Since that time, the people of Tuzla and the athletes honor her memory at the annual competition through the Annual Sitting Volleyball Tournament.

LSN Sports Programs

The beneficial effects of exercise and sports on physical recovery are evident as survivors adjust to new physical realities and teach their bodies to compensate for lost limbs. Perhaps as important as physical recovery, is the impact that sports can have on rebuilding the spirit. LSN’s sports programs turn victims into champions, by replacing feelings of isolation and depression with a powerful sense of camaraderie and confidence. For someone who is confronting a future of physical and cultural challenges, resuming or relearning a favorite sports activity can spark a new determination to pick up the other pieces of their lives.

LSN’s sports programs not only help to heal the body and the spirit, but they go further by promoting post-war reconciliation. The Princess Diana Tournament in Bosnia-Herzegovina brings together Croats, Muslims and Serbs as athletes and equals, bridging centuries-old ethnic divides marked by countless violent conflicts.

These athletes embody the aspirations of the thousands of landmine survivors across Bosnia-Herzegovina who struggle for social acceptance, economic independence and equality under the law. Their on-court achievements help transform attitudes of those who view persons with disabilities as less than whole people to acceptance and often, admiration for their achievements.

In turn, these athletes inspire other survivors, which is especially important in cultures where people with disabilities are typically treated as second-class citizens excluded from participating in daily activities. This renewed belief in their own self-worth can spur survivors to fight for the full legal rights they deserve.

Survivor-athletes competing as equals have a profound impact on others, too.

When people see the volleyball teams take the courts for the first time, spectators sometimes react with condescension or skepticism. Those doubts disappear when the players go into action — as their skills, determination and competitive spirit defy society’s assumptions about landmine survivors and all people with disabilities.

Please help to ensure that LSN’s sports teams and our other critical programs have the funding they need to meet this growing demand — by sending as generous a contribution as possible to support LSN’s work in Bosnia and around the world.

Each time an LSN-supported survivor-athlete scores a goal or crosses the finish line, it’s a victory for every landmine victim. By serving as role models, these sports heroes inspire other people with disabilities to pick up the pieces of their own lives. And by defying widely-held stereotypes of people with disabilities, survivor-athletes break down the harmful prejudices that prevent landmine victims from taking their rightful place in society.

Please help to keep LSN’s sports teams and other critical programs for survivors growing strong with your continued support today.

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