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Annapolis Valley's Ben Brown wins three medals at Paralympic trials

<p>Cambridge athlete Ben Brown recently won his first national championship while competing in the 2016 Canadian Championship and Rio Selection Trials hosted in Edmonton, Alta.</p>
<p>Cambridge athlete Ben Brown recently won his first national championship while competing in the 2016 Canadian Championship and Rio Selection Trials hosted in Edmonton, Alta.</p>

CAMBRIDGE - Kings County’s world-class wheelchair racer is home from Paralympic trials with a new set of medals – one gold, one silver and one bronze.

“It’s still sinking in that I won the national championship. I was happy I won it, but within an hour I had to do another race so I had to move on to the next race and focus,” recalled Ben Brown, a Cambridge resident originally from Weston.

Brown won the 100-metre event while competing in the 2016 Canadian Championship and Rio Selection Trials hosted in Edmonton, Alta. July 7-10.

RELATED:  Pamela LeJean qualifies for Paralympic Games in September

 “When I was on the 100-metre start line this year my heart was just pounding out of its chest, but that’s actually what kept me alert for the race,” the 28-year-old said.

Brown was riding side-by-side with an opponent he’s yet to beat midway through the sprint, making it a nail biter of a race for spectators on the sidelines.

Brown’s coach, Ueli Albert, was there to watch Brown dart across the finish line in just 16.08 seconds.

“Off the start line he was behind, but then around 40 metres he really had a very good transition and that’s when I knew he was going get him then,” said Albert.

“It was his best nationals ever, first national title that he won, which is amazing considering it’s only his fourth year at nationals.”

Brown didn’t hit the standards necessary to qualify for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio, but he did make the podium for three events.

“It was a really tough year to make the Rio team,” said Albert, who was pleased to see Brown win silver in the 200-metre competition and bronze in the 400 metre at the selection trials.

Albert believes Tokyo 2020 is a real possibility for Brown if the rising star continues to set his sights on the Olympics.

“It’s a pleasure working with him. Sometimes I almost have to hold him back… just to keep things according to plan,” said Albert.

Brown typically trains six days a week, with two to three sessions per day. Moving forward, he plans to focus on building endurance for longer races following a three-week break.

“My coach writes awesome programs for me and what we do seems to work,” said Brown, who admits he would have never dreamed of winning a national title when he started racing in 2009.

 “I’m not a naturally talented athlete, so I have to outwork my competition.”

Approaching the tenth anniversary of a motocross accident that led to his life-changing injury, Brown is proud of how far he’s come.

“If you told me that I’d be a world-class athlete taking on the world’s best wheelchair racers I would have been shaking my head.”

But he intends to go further. He’s aiming to be one of the world’s Top 10 wheelchair racers.

“That’s what I really like… going to competitions where I know I’m going to be pushed to my absolute limit.”

Brown plans to complete his first marathon in the fall and raise funds to purchase a state of the art racing chair. He’s hoping to qualify for the 2017 World Championships in London, England and travel to several high-level events in pursuit of achieving a Top 10 ranking in time for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.

“I’ll be busy for the next four years,” he said.

“It’s still sinking in that I won the national championship. I was happy I won it, but within an hour I had to do another race so I had to move on to the next race and focus,” recalled Ben Brown, a Cambridge resident originally from Weston.

Brown won the 100-metre event while competing in the 2016 Canadian Championship and Rio Selection Trials hosted in Edmonton, Alta. July 7-10.

RELATED:  Pamela LeJean qualifies for Paralympic Games in September

 “When I was on the 100-metre start line this year my heart was just pounding out of its chest, but that’s actually what kept me alert for the race,” the 28-year-old said.

Brown was riding side-by-side with an opponent he’s yet to beat midway through the sprint, making it a nail biter of a race for spectators on the sidelines.

Brown’s coach, Ueli Albert, was there to watch Brown dart across the finish line in just 16.08 seconds.

“Off the start line he was behind, but then around 40 metres he really had a very good transition and that’s when I knew he was going get him then,” said Albert.

“It was his best nationals ever, first national title that he won, which is amazing considering it’s only his fourth year at nationals.”

Brown didn’t hit the standards necessary to qualify for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio, but he did make the podium for three events.

“It was a really tough year to make the Rio team,” said Albert, who was pleased to see Brown win silver in the 200-metre competition and bronze in the 400 metre at the selection trials.

Albert believes Tokyo 2020 is a real possibility for Brown if the rising star continues to set his sights on the Olympics.

“It’s a pleasure working with him. Sometimes I almost have to hold him back… just to keep things according to plan,” said Albert.

Brown typically trains six days a week, with two to three sessions per day. Moving forward, he plans to focus on building endurance for longer races following a three-week break.

“My coach writes awesome programs for me and what we do seems to work,” said Brown, who admits he would have never dreamed of winning a national title when he started racing in 2009.

 “I’m not a naturally talented athlete, so I have to outwork my competition.”

Approaching the tenth anniversary of a motocross accident that led to his life-changing injury, Brown is proud of how far he’s come.

“If you told me that I’d be a world-class athlete taking on the world’s best wheelchair racers I would have been shaking my head.”

But he intends to go further. He’s aiming to be one of the world’s Top 10 wheelchair racers.

“That’s what I really like… going to competitions where I know I’m going to be pushed to my absolute limit.”

Brown plans to complete his first marathon in the fall and raise funds to purchase a state of the art racing chair. He’s hoping to qualify for the 2017 World Championships in London, England and travel to several high-level events in pursuit of achieving a Top 10 ranking in time for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.

“I’ll be busy for the next four years,” he said.

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