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Rob Smaal

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Born in 1961 on the outskirts of Vancouver, B.C., Rob spent his formative years preparing for a career in sports journalism by playing almost any sport that was in season at the time.

First in Vancouver, then in Nanaimo over on Vancouver Island, he and Swallows slugger Aaron Guiel played under famed Little League coach Dick Simpson, albeit 10 years apart (Rob was first, paving the way for Guiel's pro baseball career, according to him at least). Baseball in the summer, hockey in the winter and golf whenever possible.

After graduating from the University of British Columbia and tooling around Europe for a few months, Rob taught computer science and coached basketball in the Vancouver school system before heading to Japan, where he would do a couple of stints as a sports editor at The Japan Times.

In between, he wrote for a popular nightly Vancouver sports highlight show and filed stories for various wire services. In 1995, Rob headed back to Japan with The Japan Times, later moving on to become a sportswriter with The International Herald Tribune-Asahi Shimbun specializing in Japanese baseball, a job that would see him voted Best Writer by the FSAJ in 2006, largely for his coverage of the first World Baseball Classic.

Rob has had his work published in various magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times. He is also a Japan-based field producer for Global TV's national nightly news anchored by Kevin Newman and has co-produced documentaries.

Writer's History
Nov 2005 to Present
International Herald Tribune-Asahi Shimbun, Sports Writer/Editor
Covers, edits and writes about NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), as well as the World Baseball Classic, the FIBA Basketball World Championships, hockey, professional tennis, LPGA golf, and NFL football.
Nov 2003 to Present
The Global National with Kevin Newman, Japan Producer
Develops story ideas, writes scripts and shoots pieces on Japan for Global Television Network's nightly national newscast as a freelance producer based in Tokyo.
Aug 2003 to Present
The Associated Press, Sports Stringer
Covers sports including NFL football, Major League Baseball, and professional tennis and golf for AP's Tokyo bureau.
Jun 1986 to Nov 2005
The Japan Times, Sports Editor
Worked for over 12 years on the Japan Times Sports Desk. Duties included selecting and editing both local and international sports copy (AP, Reuters, AFP-Jiji, Kyodo), writing weekly sports columns and match reports, rewriting staff-written material, page layout, photo selection, and headline writing for Japan's largest English-language daily newspaper.
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