‘Best setter’ in sitting volleyball opens up about leaving behind her son as she aims for the gold in Tokyo

Sitting volleyball setter

Sitting volleyball star Kaleo Kanahele Maclay opened up about what it’s like to leave her 3-year-old son at home while she aims for the gold in Tokyo. 

Aiming for the gold: Maclay, 25, said that she was “really excited” to bring her son to the Paralympic Games, but is no longer able to due to the new attendance rules because of the pandemic, reported Us Weekly. 

  • “It’s a big sacrifice to leave him for so long. We’re going to be gone for about three weeks. So, it’s just the longest I’ve been away from him, but I’m really excited. I think it’ll be fun for him to watch, especially, like, on the TV and on that stage. I think it’ll be cool,” she said. 
  • The sitting volleyball champion revealed that there was another mom on her team and that they’ve talked to their coaches about being able to have their phones nearby in order to “ease the parental anxiety.” 

Paralympic history: Maclay won the gold with her team at the Rio Games in 2016, and the Team USA sitting volleyball team is aiming to defend their gold. 

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  • In addition, she also won a silver medal in London in 2012. She hopes to compete in the 2024 Paris Games. 
  • She wears her maiden name “Kanahele” as an ode to her Hawaiian heritage and said that during the pandemic, she had time to rest and remember why she loved volleyball. 

World’s best sitting setter: Maclay was born with a clubfoot and had to undergo a tenotomy procedure, which is when pins are placed through your toe and heel bones, at 9 months old. This left her with limited calf flexibility and muscle, according to her USA Volleyball profile.

  • Despite her condition, Hawaii News Now referred to her as the “best sitting setter in the world” because of the titles she has previously won. 
  • She was named Most Valuable Player and Best Setter at the 2019 ParaVolley World Super 6 games as well as the Best Setter at both the 2019 Parapan American Games and the 2018 World Paravolley World Championships. 
  • She started off playing standing volleyball when she was 9 with Oklahoma Peak Performance. She later began training with Team USA, competing at 12 and has been a member of the Women’s Sitting National Team since 2009. 
  • “My goal is to really push what the setter can do in sitting volleyball. How can I push my position to push the game forward,” she said.

Featured Image via USA Volleyball

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