Limb loss no barrier to competitive volleyballer

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Brad Barclay spends some time practising his scorching serve.
Camera IconBrad Barclay spends some time practising his scorching serve. Credit: Callum Hunter

Roelands man Brad Barclay has been selected to represent Australia at the ParaBeach World Volleyball Series just four months after losing his lower leg.

The announcement was made last week that Mr Barclay would be one of just three Australians to compete at the open and was the only player selected from WA.

“I’ve been playing beach volleyball since 1994,” he said.

“I decided from day one I wouldn’t let this slow me down.”

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Having originally played wheelchair basketball following his injury, Mr Barclay came across a Facebook post calling for expressions of interest to represent Australia at standing beach volleyball.

Just like the standard game, standing beach volleyball is played on sand with the same rules except teams are comprised of three members rather than two and different time-out rules apply for the repairing or adjustment of prosthetics.

“Both the others are from Victoria and have played a lot of volleyball together over the past 19 years so I’ll be the odd one out,” Mr Barclay said.

“As far as I know I’m the only amputee on the team... it doesn’t faze me, I’m just getting on with the next chapter of my life.”

Mr Barclay’s sons Taj and Heath said they were proud of their father and were adamant he would do well.

“I think it’s awesome,” Taj, 9, said.

“I think he’ll go pretty good because I think he’s one of the best in Australia.”

Standing beach volleyball has not yet been made a Paralympic sport but is on track to make its debut at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Mr Barclay make it to the self-funded tournament which will be held in Pingtan, China, in May.

Mr Barclay said he was two thirds of the way towards achieving the $3000 goal and he had an appointment tomorrow with his prosthetist to discuss making a volleyball-specific prosthetic.

“Since September I’ve been paying all the medical costs, including a new leg... I just want to raise enough funds to cover the travel,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing against other people with disabilities, it’s amazing to watch on TV.

“Sport is kind of like my therapy.”

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