Corrie Robinson has been on the para badminton scene since 2015 and has extensive experience both internationally and in New Zealand, which he calls home.
Find out more about Corrie’s thoughts about returning to competitive badminton and what may be instore for the future in this Q+A:
What was the decider to come back to playing international badminton?
After the Paralympic qualifying period for Tokyo, I took a break to recharge and reassess. I continued to play able body competitions within New Zealand which relit my love of the game and the decision to play some more international para events.
Have you ever lost the love of competing?
I have never lost the love of competing. When qualifying for Paralympics, there is the financial and time pressure that has a bearing on life. A year and a half of complete focus is demanding, so following that period, there was the need to reset, catch up with life, friends, family and my career. I will always love competing, it is just the level of competition that can change.
What does the road to qualifying look like?
Worldwide travel coupled with a great amount of training. Following the tournament circuit becomes your life when trying to qualify for a Paralympics. Life as you have known it gets put on hold. Many aspects of life get neglected when focusing on an end goal.
How does your working career affect your badminton?
I am very lucky that my employee (Waikato District Health Board) was very supportive about time away from my job as a nurse. Employees get their holidays paid for when they represent New Zealand which is very helpful. Time away from the job does limit the progression of your career, putting it on hold to reach your goals, but that is a sacrifice that many athletes make.
Are you back playing for enjoyment or are you trying to qualify for future international events?
I will hold off for a while and put my life back as a priority. I am playing more for fun now because of my age and the commitment needed to play at the top level. I had my chance at qualifying. Now I will enjoy the game to the level that works for me.
What are your plans for the near future?
I love giving back to badminton and enjoy seeing the young players coming through. When I first came to Australia in 2015 for my first para tournament, it was good to see what level you would need to be at to play in an international tournament. If I can play well, I can use that to be a role model for up-and-coming able body and para badminton players. Other athletes may see that it is possible to go further if they want to, working toward a level that will make them competitive internationally. It gives young players a benchmark instead of just watching badminton online (able body or para). I can show them it is a reality. I can play against them, or with them, and offer them advise. A lot was put into me as I was progressing in my career, so it is good to be able to do the same for the next generation.
How did you get involved in Para Badminton?
I played badminton for many years before knowing there was para badminton in New Zealand. Para athletics and swimming have had a lot of exposure over the years, so the number of participants and quality of the athletes are high in these sports.
I grew up playing able body rugby and cricket as a junior, then found para sprinting. I was looking for something more dynamic that didn’t include staring at the bottom of a pool or sprinting nonstop. I couldn’t find many para sports that had that option.
Badminton ticked the boxes, because if you have good hand eye coordination and smart tactics, but you may not have good quality movement, you can develop the skills needed as opposed to sprinting and swimming which focuses more on endurance and time training with less technique. Badminton is a two-tiered sport that offers more dynamic aspects. New Zealand does not have a high level of participation in para badminton. Exposure is needed to increase the number of players in the area of para badminton in New Zealand. If the sport is not available or easy to access, people won’t try it.
What next for Corrie Robinson?
After coming through juniors as an able-bodied badminton player, I still have a lot of ex Waikato and New Zealand players who are good friends. We get together for team events (Masters) or just training, and it is fun. We all push each other. A good work, life and badminton balance is what works for me right now.