Bo'ness-based Paralympics star Ben Rowlings hopes he's on a roll when racing for Great Britain in Tokyo

After experiencing “a massive learning curve” at his first Paralympics in Rio in 2016, Bo’ness wheelchair athlete Ben Rowlings feels in much better shape to produce strong performances for Great Britain at the Paralympics in Tokyo.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 4:46 pm
Ben Rowlings (1st left) is relaxed, in great shape and racing faster than ever ahead of the upcoming Paralympics (Pic by Bill McBurnie)

Rowlings, 25, will contest the T34 100m and 800m in Japan, looking to better his underwhelming displays in Brazil five years ago.

"I’m ranked within the top five in the world at the moment,” Rowlings said.

"I’ve done really, really well this season. It’s been one of my more consistent seasons.

"I’ve raced really well, especially over 800m, so I feel like I’m in a really good, strong place but when you get to championship races anything can happen so it’s just taking each race as it comes, getting through the rounds and taking it from there.

"There is half a second between the top six guys in the world at the moment so it’s going to be a close field and who plays it best on the day.

"I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself because I made that mistake in Rio. I put a lot of pressure on myself and what I wanted to do didn’t pan out because everything got to me a bit.

"It will be really strange competing in Tokyo with no crowd because you kind of feed off the crowd, you get the energy which gives you that extra little bit. Not having the fans there will be eerie and we’ll have to adapt but I’m used to that after racing over the last couple of years.”

Rowlings will compete in Tokyo almost two years after reaching the finals of the T34 400m and 800m at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

He will fly out to Japan on August 14 before attending a holding camp in Yokohama for 10 days. His 100m campaign will start on August 29 and the 800m schedule starts on September 3.

Rowlings’ progress will be followed with interest back home by his girlfriend Alice, a Linlithgow native who was a fellow student at Stirling University.

He added: "I’m more excited for this Paralympics than I was for Rio because I know what I’m going into now.

"I know how to deal with the different things you face at a Parlympics. At Rio I wasn’t as well prepared for the whole spectacle.”