Hoop dreams in Berlin

Nick Bruin is set to travel to Berlin for the Summer World Games in Special Olympics. Picture: PROVIDED.

By Sahar Foladi

Dandenong-based basketballer Nick Bruin is set to travel half-way across the world to compete in Special Olympics World Games.

There will be 64 Aussie athletes with an intellectual disability at the World Games in June alongside 7,000 others from 190 delegations.

Dandenong Casey Titans affiliated with Special Olympics Sports make sport accessible for those with special needs.

“Being selected to the Australian basketball team for the Special Olympics World Games is a dream. I am super excited,” Mr Bruin said.

“I’m looking forward to travelling overseas to a different country where I’ll meet different people, make new friends, do some sight-seeing and see tourist sites.”

His passion for basketball started from shooting baskets with his siblings in their backyard at a young age.

When he was 11 years old he started training along with his younger brother at Berwick Basketball Club.

At the age of 15 he trained with Special Olympics at the former Dandenong Market stadium.

“I like playing basketball because it is something that I am good at and it is a great way to have fun with friends,” Mr Bruin said.

“Basketball is important to me because it helps me to keep fit and learn new skills.”

As someone with an intellectual disability, Mr Bruin said basketball has made him confident and more relaxed.

He has also played All Abilities football, cricket and softball but basketball remains his favourite.

There are two other players from the Dandenong Casey Titans in Dandenong selected for the World Games- a husband and wife duo who’re ready to compete in bocce.

Club chair and secretary Peter Fulcher-Meredith said: “We’re really proud and excited because we’re always seen ourselves as a small club.

“Then to have three of our athletes chosen on international level to participate for Australia is amazing.”

The World Games in Berlin covers a variety of sports including, basketball, bocce, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, swimming and tennis.

As someone who is big on staying healthy, Mr Bruin said he wants to continue playing basketball to stay fit and stop him from becoming a ‘couch potato’.

“I want to keep hanging out with my basketball friends. Of course, it would be great to play in another World Games.”