ISLE OF MAN – Microgaming is proud to unveil rising Para athlete Ben Grainger as its newest Ambassador, through its PlayItForward initiative.
Since 2015, Microgaming PlayItForward has sponsored the Microgaming Isle of Man Para Swimming Team, the island’s first Para swimming team, providing individuals the opportunity and assistance to compete in the sport. Managed by the Isle of Man Swimming Association (IOMSA), the team of remarkable young swimmers have had amazing success at both national and international events.
One of the talented youngsters is Ben Grainger, the newest member of Microgaming’s Ambassador Programme which continues to support individuals of outstanding calibre since its establishment in 2013. Ben joins fellow Ambassadors, Joseph Ricciardi (triathlete) and Laura Kinley (swimmer), who have successfully competed across the globe in their respective sports through the financial assistance of the initiative.
At just 14 years old, Ben has exhibited a promising talent in swimming, qualifying for national events and sharing the pool with world renowned Paralympic swimmers. In 2014, the then 11-year-old dominated in the National Para Swimming Championships as the youngest in the Under-14 category where he collected five medals, including two golds in the 50m and 100m freestyle events.
A year later, Ben competed in the 2015 British Disability Championships where he raced to victory in the Under-13s category, winning three gold medals and two silvers to add to his previous accolades. Impressing, with numerous British Para titles at just 13 years old, Ben was selected to join some of the country’s finest athletes in 2016 at the British Swimming Para Academy where he is one of 49 swimmers in the programme set to develop athletes for success at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
Since then, Ben has been hard at work competing in multiple events including some of the biggest international meets in Para swimming. The teenager recently raced against athletes all the way from China to the US at the British Para Swimming International in Sheffield earlier this year. Unfazed by competing against some of the most experienced Para swimmers in the adult categories, Ben completed all seven events with new personal best times. He was also selected as the first reserve for the Men’s 100m breaststroke final and finished 4th in the Talent Tokyo final against other Paralympic hopefuls.
Through all his remarkable achievements which has inspired other young individuals within the island’s Para swimming team, it comes as no surprise that Ben’s outstanding skill in the sport and as a rising talent has been acknowledged multiple times. To date, Ben has been awarded the Disability Sports Person of the Year (2014, 2015 and 2016) at the Isle of Man Sports Awards for three years in a row!
The long-term goal for Ben is to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo and the Manx teen will begin his first term at the prestigious Mount Kelly School in the UK where he will step up his training with an internationally recognised coaching programme.
Claire Coleman, Head of Microgaming PlayItForward, comments: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Ben to the Ambassador programme; he is the perfect role model for Microgaming and PlayItForward. Having worked with the Isle of Man Para Swimming Team for a number of years now, we have witnessed first-hand what an inspiration Ben is to people. Working tirelessly to improve his times whenever he competes, he is determined to succeed, and we have high hopes for him as he aims for the biggest stage of them all, the 2020 Paralympics!”