Linlithgow wheelchair racer Ben Rowlings is appealing for local businesses to help send him to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, after starring at the World Championships.
The 23-year-old, who competes in the T34 division for Team GB, has been self-funded since last year when his lottery funding was removed.
At the World Championships in Dubai last month Ben, who has cerebral palsy, reached the finals of the 400 and 800 metres races.
He said: “For a custom racing wheelchair it’s £5,000. Training camps and travel add up as well. Whilst representing the British team they pay for that. But prior to that I have to self-fund to qualify for events and training.
“I went to Tenerife with my coach to get used to the heat for the World Championships – so that was paid for by me too.
“Any kind of support I can receive is welcome. Getting to this level is hard enough, but maintaining it is even harder, financially and on the track.”
Ben, originally from Shropshire, moved to Linlithgow Bridge in 2017 and is currently studying to become a secondary school English teacher.
“It’s a lot better for training here. And I met my girlfriend two months after moving here, so it’s all tied in well.
“This is now home, so I hope local businesses will support me. When I started out, businesses in Shropshire helped me get to this point. I couldn’t have done it without them.
“Finding sponsorship in any sport is difficult and para sport seems to be a little bit harder. So any local support is more than welcome and very much appreciated.”
Ben, who has been racing since being inspired by London 2012, now has his sights set on making the team for Tokyo. He said: “I have to race against the best guys in the world and be in the top five or six in the world to get into the team. To make the team is a big achievement. I feel capable of doing it. As being selected for the World Championships team was a great achievement as it’s a similar process.”
Ben has been racing internationally since 2014. The T34 wheelchair racer focuses on the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m distances. He occasionally competes in the 1500m, 10,000m and half marathon. He is the Great Britain and European 800m record holder. He also holds the British records at 100m, 200m and 400m.
If there is anyone out there who would like to sponsor Ben to help in his bid to represent Team GB at the 2020 Paralympic Games, you can contact him through his Facebook page - ‘Ben Rowlings T34 Wheelchair Racer’ - where you can send a message.