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Wheelchair Racer in Bid for Rio Glory

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A wheelchair racer with hopes of competing at the Paralympic Games has been awarded a scholarship from the University of Worcester.

Ben Oliver is training six days a week and is planning to attend the International Paralympic Committee’s Grand Prix event in Switzerland in May, in the hope of securing a place with the Great Britain squad.

He has been awarded £600 from the University of Worcester’ Scholarship Panel to help with the costs of his training.

“This money will be a huge help in allowing me to attend the Swiss Para Athlete Championships in May,” he said. “This will be my first international competition and will allow me to compete against some of the best athletes in the world but also mean I can potentially get called up by British Athletics as a member of the Great Britain team, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Ben, who has cerebral palsy, is in the first year of a Sports Coaching Science with Disability Sport degree at the University of Worcester.

“Juggling study with training is a challenge, but one that I’m enjoying,” he said. “I’m really ramping up my training now and am aiming for a world ranking in Switzerland.

“There are a few athletes on the circuit who I’ve got to up my game against, but I am feeling good, so I’ve everything to go for.”

Ben needs to raise a further £600 to pay for the trip to Switzerland and is also trying to raise further funds for a new wheelchair to help in his Paralympic quest.

“I have adapted my racing style and so I have had to modify my current chair,” said the 20-year-old. “I did the work myself to it, but it’s not perfect and it would be so much better to have a custom-built chair that would really aide my racing.”

In addition to the £600 scholarship, Ben, from Bodmin, Cornwall, was also the recipient of an entry scholarship to the University in recognition of his outstanding grades at Truro College.

Ben has set up a ‘gofundme’ page, called ‘My Journey to Switzerland’ where anyone who would like to support him can donate. The link is www.gofundme.com/4tk69ftt

The University awards scholarships of up to £1,000 towards voluntary work or activities, to pursue a particular interest, ie music or arts, or towards course-related activities.