Determined Paralympian vows to be back 2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
It’s been a long but rewarding road for Paralympian, Ben Tuimaseve, who returns home after representing New Zealand for the first time at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The former Onehunga High School student was aiming for a top six finish in Tokyo with the goal to make the final, but although he produced an Oceania record of 13.31m in round two, he just missed out on a top eight spot which would have earned him three more throws.
Ben spoke to Athletics New Zealand, saying that he had hoped to perform a little better on the night but vowed to be back. “It was my first one (Paralympic Games) and it was nice to get it out of the way but I’m coming back. It is a pretty hard feeling to let go.
Ben lives by his own philosophy, that difference is the challenge, but ultimately the blessing. He was born with a form of Hemiplegia cerebral palsy which limits movement on the left side of his body, so he relies on the strength of his right side.
As a child, the disability affected his confidence, and he would become frustrated at not being able to do things as well as others. Getting involved with sports later in life has helped Ben overcome those barriers, and motivated the 32 year-old to embrace his uniqueness.
Ben first started shot put in late 2016, and made his international Paralympic debut at the Oceania Athletics Championships in Australia 2019. Later that year he went on to represent New Zealand at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai finishing 12th overall in the Men’s Shot Put.
An ankle injury in late 2019 forced him to undergo surgery, which he feared would affect his Olympic prospects. He went on to make a surprising recovery, and was later named in the New Zealand team to compete at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. In preparation for Tokyo, he trained alongside fellow Paralympic shot-putter, Lisa Adams, who, coached by her older sister Dame Valerie Adams, won a gold medal at the Games.
Ben is proud of his Niuean, Cook Island and Samoan roots and names his family as his biggest support system and main motivation. He is already working towards qualifying for Paris 2024, and he has high hopes of fulfilling his dream to bring home a medal.
“To all my friends and family and everyone who’s helped me along the way – thank you very much.”