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Al Robson

Seasoned basketball player and coach, Al Robson, says some of his biggest learnings in life have been through his experiences in Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games Head Coach for Basketball has had more than 40 years’ experience in the sport, and so he is well aware of the challenges his athletes face as they strive to achieve their goals.

“I first played premier grade club basketball when I was 16 years old, before representing Canterbury at the under 20 age group level and then the Canterbury Rams National League team.”

Al says his initial goal is to bring the players together from different clubs, who have trained under a variety of coaches, and have them develop as a team.

“Individually and collectively I want the players to improve their skill level and ensure they play to the best of their ability. Fitness is key to helping players cope with the stresses of travelling and to ensure they enjoy the experience of representing New Zealand on and off the court.”

This is Al’s second international event as he was also Head Coach for basketball at the World Summer Games in Athens 2011.

“The Games are so important to our athletes, as for many of them this will be the most significant event in their lives. Our team management and coaches will all be working hard to ensure that through thorough preparation a positive environment is created so that the athletes have an amazing experience.”

Ala has been involved with Special Olympics as a basketball coach for over 16 years and says “seeing players achieve things they never thought possible and exceeding their own expectations is very satisfying”.

He also values hearing from players and caregivers about how he has impacted positively on the players’ lives.

Al believes the profile of the Games helps highlight how powerful sport can be.

“Although they are not my words I agree with the statement – ‘Through the power of sport, Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people’.”
What I love about New Zealand Special Olympics:

Joining Special Olympics as a coach, I thought I was going to teach these athletes life skills and about how to get on in the world. The reality has been the reverse, I’ve learnt more from them about how I should live and appreciate what’s important in life.”


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