Ben Rowlings on wheelchair racing and the people who helped
In between volunteering at Redditch Community Amateur Boxing Club and preparing for Rio 2016, wheelchair racer Ben Rowlings spoke to Join In about his sporting journey.
Tell us about the volunteers who’ve helped you along the road?
I’ve had a wide range of volunteers help me throughout my career. People like my coach Job King who has been my coach from day one, my family who drive me to competitions, and then all the officials and volunteers at events who make sure they run smoothly so I just have to worry about competing.
How long have you been a member of the Coventry Godiva Harriers?
I’ve been part of Coventry Godiva Harriers for three years. This has allowed me to have consistent, good quality training on great facilities, so I can train quick to help me race quick.
How much has participation in wheelchair racing grown in recent years?
In the few years that I’ve been racing, I’ve seen participation grow massively, which is amazing and makes the competition to make teams a lot tougher and makes the sport stronger. The profile of Paralympic sport has exploded.
What advice would you give to athletes starting out in your sport?
My advice for people just starting out in sport is stick at it. You’re not going to jump into a sport and go straight to a Paralympic final. It takes years of hard work and dedication to make it, but if you stick at it and put the hard work in, anything is possible.
It’s incredibly important to get more disabled people into sport in some capacity as it’s a release. It’s something to focus on and take your mind off any difficulties you may face
How many different races do you intend to enter in the next Paralympic Games?
My events for Rio are the t34 100m and 800m. I’m more suited to the 800m, so that’s what my training is focused on, but I’ve got to make sure I’ve got the speed to hold my own in the 100m as well.
How will you prepare for the heat of Doha and Rio?
To prepare for the World Championships in Doha and the Paralympics in Rio, I’ll do warm weather training and compete in competitions abroad to get used to the climate as best I can.
Why do you think it is important to get more disabled people into sport, either participating or volunteering?
I think it’s incredibly important to get more disabled people into sport in some capacity as it’s a release. It’s something to focus on and take your mind off any difficulties you may face, but it also helps shape you into a rounded person and helps develop values that help in day-to-day life.
Ben Rowlings spoke to Join In during his visit to Redditch Amateur Boxing Club, where he helped out with the club’s Disability Boxing Programme and passed on advice on strength and conditioning.
Our Founding Partner BT has found it hugely encouraging to see disability sports programmes such as Redditch’s taking centre stage.
Suzy Christopher, Head of Brand Partnerships & Comms at BT, says, “Clubs like Redditch Community Amateur Boxing Club are a fantastic example of sports clubs across the UK who are giving everybody the chance to take part in sport.
BT is now in its second year of supporting BT All Join In – a campaign to encourage more mainstream clubs to think about how they can increase their membership of people with disabilities. As a long-term supporter of disability sport in the UK, we are looking forward to working more with Join In in 2015 to shine a light on the fantastic local sports clubs that make it possible for anyone to get active in their community.”