Para athlete profile: Ben Westenberg
Name: Ben Westenberg
Birthday: 22 May 2005
Home Town: Tauranga
Chosen Sport: Para cycling
Eligible impairment: Impaired range of movement
Health condition: Arthrogryposis
Ben Westenberg has grown up surrounded by sports, enjoying soccer, basketball and cross-country, to name just a few. However, mountain biking has always been his passion. After competing in Para swimming when it was first offered at AIMS Games, he got into Para cycling through a PNZ Para Cycling Talent ID Camp and was instantly hooked.
A student at Tauranga Boys College, Ben was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), a rare congenital condition. AMC affects people in different ways and Ben’s condition affects the joints of his arms.
“For me AMC means I have restricted strength and movement in both my upper limbs and in particular my hands. My disability means that holding onto the handlebars and in particular braking is difficult. I ride a mountain bike with a hand brace and 3D printed adaptations to the brakes that I helped design. Track cycling is perfect for me because there are no brakes.”
Selected into the the Para Cycling High Performance Athlete Development Squad at 14 years old, Ben been progressing rapidly ever since. He is in the competitive C5 sports class. In March 2023, he broke the New Zealand C5 Individual Pursuit record, recording 4.40.742 in the final and bettering the previous record by several seconds.
Ben made his international debut at the 2023 World Championships in Glasgow aged 18. Ben blasted onto the international track scene, seizing silver in the C4 15km scratch race, and bronze in the C4 omnium.
Although Ben loves track cycling, he also wants to build his road riding skills so he can compete in both road and track events.
Longer term his goal is to be on the podium at the LA 2028 Paralympic Games – and also to raise the profile Para sport.
“I like to think that I can inspire and be a role model for kids with disabilities, and show that disabled people can do so many things.”
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