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Nottingham City Lions roar thanks to GOGA

The Active Together podcast shares the stories of those who have been part of Get Out Get Active (GOGA). This week we hear from Rob Ghahremani, coach of the Nottingham City Lions wheelchair basketball team.  

Group of disabled and non-disabled people posing for a picture with a basketball in sports wheelchairs in a sport hall.

Rob has been interested in sport and physical activity from a young age. He always wanted to be involved in PE lessons, something that was not a given due to a lack of understanding and education at the time. 

He tells Active Together host Sam Lloyd about how far things have come since he was in school. 

“Growing up I always wanted to get involved in what my peers were doing” he explains on the latest episode. 

“I worked with PE teachers to try to find ways to adapt sessions so that I could get involved in any way shape or form. I think education has been key over the last few years, and nowadays we’re in a much better position for PE teachers to adapt their sessions and make sure that everything is inclusive.” 

Rob is paralysed from the chest down, and enjoyed wheelchair basketball whilst growing up. However, with the closest teams too far away for it to be sustainable he turned to tennis, playing competitively for a few years. 

That’s until his university was looking for a wheelchair basketball coach, something that would lead him to where he is today.  

After successfully running the club, even leading them to a national title, he was approached to set up a wheelchair basketball club in Nottingham with GOGA funding. 

Get Out Get Active is a programme created to bring disabled and non-disabled people together to be active. It looks to engage the least active communities in fun and inclusive ways. Through funding local experts it strengthens community spirit, increases confidence, and improves mental health. 

From sports chairs to the hoops, they backed the club, giving locals the opportunity to try the sport. 

“Without the GOGA programme there would be no wheelchair basketball club in Nottingham. We’d still be here 30 years on without one. We cannot understate the importance of GOGA” Rob says. 

The principles of each session fit nicely with the GOGA approach. Ensuring that everyone is welcome, something that Rob sees in wheelchair basketball: 

“For me wheelchair basketball is the most inclusive disabled sport, the reason being that anybody can play it. Whether you’re able-bodied, or someone like myself who is paralysed from the chest down. It’s got the most inclusive rule set that you can possibly get for any sport.” 

Watch the full episode here: 

His passion for inclusive sport is clear throughout the episode. He works as a full-time trainer, admitting that sport and physical activity has moulded his entire life: 

“It’s amazing to show so many people that, you know, things that they thought weren’t possible, are possible and there’s always ways around things and adapting it.  And we all just need a helping hand really, and a bit of guidance.” 

You can listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts or on the Activity Alliance YouTube channel.  

You can catch-up on old episodes, the series has featured a Wiltshire garden giving veterans a place to meet, North Wales’ first LGBTQ+ rugby team breaking down barriers and an Amber Valley SEN Disco born out of a WhatsApp group.   

About Get Out Get Active 

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Activity Alliance is the creator and lead partner. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Foundation.  

Find out more about Get Out Get Active here