On Track to Become World's Fastest Wheelchair Athlete
Kingstec student vying for spot on Canada’s Paralympic Team
Ben holds a number of records including Nova Scotia provincial records in the outdoor wheelchair 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m; and indoor wheelchair 60m, 150m, 200m, 300m, 600m and 800m.
Ben trains with his team at the Canada Games Centre
“I race wheelchairs fulltime,” says Ben. “I’ve been travelling the world since 2014 — racing since 2009 — and represented Canada at the Parapan Am Games in 2011.”
For Ben, achieving a Business Administration Diploma is an essential part of reaching his Olympic goal. “To be a full-time athlete, I need financial stability. Being paralyzed and on the Autism spectrum, and trying to work for someone else can be very difficult, so my goal is to become self-employed."
Inspired by his program, Ben is currently working with students in the Electronic Engineering Technician program to create a prototype of a product he envisions. "I want to be an entrepreneur. The Mini-Ventures Tradeshow that was offered through my Business Environment class inspired me to come up with an idea that will help my sport of wheelchair racing."
While he’s tight-lipped on what the actual product will be, Ben does divulge that it will help athletes train and push their personal limits. “For me personally, it will also create financial stability and get my business moving forward. Then, I can create bigger and better services."
Heading to Tokyo
Ben holds more than a dozen wheelchair racing records in Nova Scotia and is one of the top 20 wheelchair athletes in the world. However, to make it to Tokyo, he needs to become even faster. “I don't just want to go to the Paralympics, I want to be a paralympic champion and world record holder.” He adds, “I need to crack the top 10. That’s the goal for 2018.”
Training twice each day, six days a week, nearly all of Ben’s day is dedicated to racing. “I go to school during the day. As soon as I'm finished of class, I go do workout number one. Recover. Go do work out number two. Recover. Then I do meal prep for the next day, go do my homework and go to bed. Sometimes I’m up till midnight, but it's worth it.”
Ben adds that his instructors’ support has been instrumental in allowing him to work toward his dream.
“They understand that because of my spinal cord injury, things just sometimes don't go my way scheduling-wise. They even understand my travel needs — like having to go to Japan to be fitted for my new racing chair. My instructors are very accommodating. It makes me feel great and makes life much easier to manage. That kind of support means everything.”