Ben is in a wheelchair since he was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
After seeing Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham’s videos on YouTube, he developed a liking for skateboarding, and when our local skatepark opened in 2017, he began going there to socialize with his friends and ride the ramps in his everyday wheelchair until the screws came loose!
He received his bespoke chair in September 2018, allowing him to progress and, with the help of now-World Women’s Champion Lily Rice, take up the sport of WCMX more seriously, to the point where he entered the World Championship in Cologne, Germany, at the end of August 2019, in his first proper competition.
Who is Ben Sleet?
He did exceptionally well, placing fourth in the children’s section. He had the opportunity to meet his idols and make new acquaintances from all over the world.
Since then, he’s been visiting other skateparks across the country in order to improve, since he really wanted to compete in this year’s World Championships, which were originally scheduled to take place in Fontana, California, but were rescheduled owing to Covid as an online event.
Athletes from all around the world submitted a run or edit from their local/chosen skatepark for the WCMX Digital World Championships 2020.
Ben’s condition makes it difficult for him to learn new things, so even though we designed a run for him to follow, he had to repeat it since he kept forgetting to do tricks where he wanted to, and judges score on park utilization, trick selection, and difficulty.
We submitted what he considered to be his best work, and we all eagerly awaited the event, which was broadcast live on YouTube, to see what everyone else had created.
After a lengthy 24 hour wait for the results to be announced on the World WCMX Facebook page, we were all excited when the notification rang on the phone and we saw the results.
It means the world to Ben to be able to name himself a World Champion, and it makes everything worthwhile for him, even though he enjoys what he does.
Ben has no concept of his limitation; instead, he sees everything as an opportunity, not impossible but doable.