British schoolboy becomes first person in UK to perform backflip in a ...

A 12-year-old English lad has become the first person in the UK to perform a backflip in a wheelchair.

Daredevil Benjamin Sleet was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and has always used a wheelchair to get around.

He was introduced to wheelchair motor cross (WCMX) aged eight at a skateboard jam event, but his skills really took off when he got his hands on a specialist skate chair.

After just a few months of practising by landing in a foam pit, brave Benjamin just "gave it a go" and landed a backflip at the skate park earlier this month.

He's the youngest ever Brit - and the first male from the UK - to pull off the feat.

Benjamin / SWNS

Wheelchair motor cross sees athletes perform tricks usually seen in skateboarding and BMX and was invented by Aaron Fotheringham, 30, from Las Vegas.

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Ben from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, said: “I was shocked at first and then I felt excited – it wasn’t really scary.

“I didn’t know I was going to do it, I just decided I was going to have a go.”

A couple of friends looked on and were excited for Ben.

He said he had been wanting to do the stunt for about a year, and finally mustered up enough speed to be able to flip himself over.

Ben tried the sport aged eight after meeting skateboarder Richie Inskip at a skateboard jam event.

Richie then introduced him to Lily Rice, the current women’s world WCMX champion – the first UK woman to pull off a backflip aged 13.

She brought along a specially adapted skate chair to let Ben have a try, and he hasn’t looked back.

Thanks to a generous donation, Ben’s family were able to get him his own, and since then he’s continued honing his skills.

He landed his backflip on April 3.

Now, he’s looking for a sponsorship to help him get to the next level of the sport.

Mum Angela Sleet, 46, said: “Ben was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and has always had to use a wheelchair.

“He’s been doing the sport for four or five years now and was only 12 in November – he's the youngest male in Europe and only male in the UK to have landed a wheelchair backflip.”

After receiving a generous donation of £5,000, Ben was able to get his first skate chair. He recently outgrew it, so they sold it and used the funds to get him another one.

She continued: “He’s just been getting better and better – I didn’t know he was going to try the backflip and was terrified when I saw him do it!

“We did an online competition run from California where he had to do a run at his normal skatepark, film it and send it in. He came first and received a medal through the post. He also took part in the World Championships in Germany in 2019 and came fourth in his division.”

“Now, we’re looking for sponsorship as it’s hard to travel without the money.

“We just want to get the word out there about what he’s doing and get some more support – there’s a competition coming up in Germany in July and we’d really like to go."

We’re sure it won’t be long until a sponsor snaps up the opportunity to work with the talented young sportsman with such flippin’ amazing skills.

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