Ben Leitch - Wheelchair Basketball Sensation

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Ben Leitch is the 17 year old Wheelchair Basketball sensation from Perth who has taken the game by storm. Now a member of the GB Team as well as the Scottish Team, he has spent the past 12 months competing at international level events and training camps including the National Junior Championships, Barcelona Invitational and GBR Academy Tier 1.

Ben started at the age of 13, when he was looking for a sport that would accommodate his lower leg mobility impairment caused by a rare bone cancer.

“A coach at Perth Phoenix introduced me to a lovely lady called Tina Gordan who was the basketball Scotland pathway development officer. She came up to Perth with her husband Callum who is an ex Paralympian and let me have a go with the wheelchairs. After that taster session I fell in love with the sport.”

After that taster session I fell in love with the sport.

It was a year later, when Ben was selected to play for Scotland that he knew he could take his sport to the next level, and this is when training started in earnest.

“I now train seven days a week, in some way or another. I do individual shooting sessions, I work with a personal trainer and of course now, at this level, I need to do additional gym work for strength and conditioning.

“I’m part of the Live Active Leisure Talented Athlete Scheme locally which is great because I can use the facilities at North Inch Community Campus which is where I go to school. Having that free access to a good quality gym really helps as it means I can go most days during the week.

SPOTY - Gary and Ben close-up

“It can be expensive to take part in performance level sport. I do a massive amount of travelling and I need to create the funds to help me follow my dreams. I really do want to make a career out of the sport, so I’m always on the lookout for sponsors!

“On Saturday and Sunday I normally have a game; I train and play with Glasgow Rollin Rocks club and also the Dundee Dragons, who won silver in the Grampian Cup this year.”

Ben is no stranger to picking up awards, with a number of silver and gold cups won across various events with both his Scottish and GB team mates. He also won Disability Sportsperson of the Year at the 2018 Perth and Kinross Sports Awards and is direct in talking about his competitive nature.

“For me, the competitive aspect of the game is the best bit! Representing the U22 Great Brattain team has been a huge achievement for me and has really pushed me think about my goals.

You never know what will happen unless you take the chances!

“My main focus now is on the current National League season and trying to gain promotion to the Premier League. Outside of this year, I really want to make squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games with the possibility of playing for Scotland, and then onto the 2024 Paralympic Games.

“For now though, I’m looking forward to playing the second half of season for Glasgow rocks and training for selection for the European squad.”

Ben has also started coaching at the newly founded club Perth Eagles, encourages anyone out there to join in and have a go.

“You never know what will happen unless you take the chances!”

You can read more about Ben's success here.

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