Grantham’s Luke Benson says five years ago he could not even skate – and now he is heading to next year’s Roller Derby World Cup.
Twenty-nine-year-old Luke entered the world of Roller Derby, predominantly a female sport but now rapidly being adopted by men, when he joined the Lincoln-based team, Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder.
Still in its infancy, men’s Roller Derby has 75 worldwide teams, of which LRT are currently ranked third.
With a few years’ experience under his belt, Luke tried out for the Scottish national team six months ago and made the training squad.
He has been training hard with the 30-strong squad ever since, competing with each other for a space in the final selection of 19 to go to Barcelona for the World Cup in April next year.
Luke said: “From then till July, we trained once a month until a final selection game at the end of July. After that I was offered a position on the final roster for the World Cup.
“Since then, it’s been twice a month training in Scotland, with games mixed in until the World Cup.
“Now the hard training starts. Before starting roller derby I couldn’t even stand up on a pair of skates. Within a few months, I was representing Lincolnshire at the second European Championships in Birmingham. Since then I have always skated at the highest level of men’s roller derby in Europe.
“Recently, we played the third best men’s team in the world, all the way from San Diego, as well as a team from Newcastle.”
The Power of Scotland team competed in 2014 in Birmingham and finished in seventh place out of the 15 teams competing.
Last year, Power of Scotland travelled to Calgary, Canada, to compete in the second Men’s Roller Derby World Cup, placing 10th out of 20 competing teams.
Luke and the team are now preparing for a third year representing Scotland at the highest level competition available in men’s Roller Derby.
The team recently found out that in their World Cup group they would be facing Australia, Italy and Columbia. The World Cup is made up of 25 teams from around the world, from the USA to the Philippines.