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Andi Qorrolli is basketball’s most relaxed player: ‘I am a master of patience’

The Special Olympics Kosovo athlete cruises through sports tournaments, solves crossword puzzles in a foreign language and aspires to work abroad.
Profile photo of Special Olympics Kosovo basketball player Andi Qorrolli
Andi Qorrolli represented Special Olympics Kosovo at last year’s Regional West Balkans Unified 3x3 Basketball Tournament in Albania

Andi Qorrolli has discovered his superpower in basketball.

As the ball is passed hectically around him, the coaches shouting instructions from the sidelines and spectators clapping from the stands, the 19-year-old remains perfectly calm and composed.

“I’m always chilled. I am a master of patience. I never been nervous or angry.”
Andi Qorrolli - Special Olympics Kosovo athlete

Nervousness, anger, frustration - Qorrolli showed none of these emotions when he played for the Kosovo team at the Regional West Balkans Unified 3x3 Basketball Tournament, which was held in Tirana, Albania from 1 to 3 December 2023.

True to his self-assessment, Qorrolli did not even get rattled when he managed to score in the final seconds of the match for third place against Shkoder, one of the four teams that represented hosts Albania.

“I scored in the last moment. It was nice,” he recalled. “First it was difficult to score, but then I warmed up and then I scored.”

That patience and self-control have served Qorrolli well ever since he started playing basketball at age 10. While his first trainings did not always yield the high scores he is used to now, the young athlete was not discouraged.

“I always went to the stadium. It’s very old. I get my ball. I always practise to score,” Qorrolli said. “I missed most of the time, but after playing more time, by practising, I scored.

“It was difficult, but it was worth it.”

Ongoing basketball match with two players trying to catch the ball
Andi Qorrolli in action with his team at last year’s Regional West Balkans Unified 3x3 Basketball Tournament in Albania

Qorrolli has also tried other team sports, such as volleyball and football, and continues to play football with friends as a hobby. Basketball, however, has always been his first choice.

“I enjoy it very much. I always play basketball. I will not change it with other sports,” he said. “It makes me tall, better, healthier.”

While he can be found on the basketball court every evening, by day Qorrolli is a diligent student. He attends college classes and specialises in English language studies.

“I always liked it since the first school,” he said of choosing to study English. “And my teacher, she helped me to practise the language better to not mix it up.”

Qorrolli supplements his language learning by listening to foreign music and watching action movies. The Fast & Furious car racing saga is one of his favourites—and serves as inspiration for his nimble moves on the basketball court.

#EBW2023 - West Balkans Unified 3x3 Basketball Tournament in Albania - Highlights
Step back into the energetic atmosphere of the Special Olympics West Balkans Unified 3x3 Basketball Tournament! Few weeks ago, the teams were arriving in Tirana, Albania, and warming up for one of the biggest and most successful events of EBW2023. Huge congratulations to all the programmes involved and a heartfelt thank you to the partners that made this possible. This event was part of the project "Shoot for Inclusion" - implemented within the regional initiatives of the United Nations agencies "Youth for Inclusion, Equality and Trust", which is financed by the United Nations Peace Fund. In Albania, this initiative is implemented by the local offices of UNDP Albania and UNFPA Albania.The "Shoot for Inclusion" project aims to engage young people with and without intellectual disabilities in sports activities providing them with an environment free of discrimination, hate speech & violence.

The Special Olympics Kosovo athlete also flexes his patience muscles by doing English crossword puzzles.

“My talent is that sometimes I play crosswords,” Qorrolli said. “It gives me patience, gives me the chill, [the ability to] find out the weak point.”

The tournament in Tirana was Qorrolli’s first time at an international competition. Curious about foreign languages and cultures, his main highlight from the event was meeting fellow young players from the three other countries represented: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.

Qorrolli’s big dream is to travel even further, to English-speaking countries, where he hopes to practise his language skills while working as an assistant.

“I will go to all of them and visit all of them,” he promised.

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