Young Ninja Star in the Making
Nine-year-old Benny Dows from Narangba shows promise for bright future in the ninja domain.
Benny Dows might only be nine-years-old but he’s already going from strength to strength in the Ninja Warrior domain. The Narangba youngster has taken part in state and national competitions over the past year and is already setting goals to tackle the sport overseas one day. While hanging from monkey bars or gripping rings like your life depends on it isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, Benny is certainly proving his worth in a sport that is quickly becoming a big part of his life.
“I would absolutely love to make it to the world championships in America one day.”
Benny’s foray into the sport began three years ago, but it wasn’t until after his family travelled the country and returned home that he decided it was time to start taking it to the next level and enter competitions. His first competition in May 2022 saw Benny place third which meant he qualified for the Ninja Challenge League national finals in Melbourne in September. Although his end results weren’t quite what he was hoping for, Benny is grateful for the opportunity to compete at such a high level.
“In the first stage I got a lucky catch on the double ring lache, which meant I completed the course without any falls and placed seventh boy in my age category (nine and 10-year-olds compete together),” he says.
“That then allowed me to go through to stage two, where I unfortunately fell on the cable drum balance which was a new obstacle I haven't tried before.
“This meant I came ninth overall out of the boys in my age category. I was a little bit sad not to be able to go through to stage three, but I had a great time in Melbourne and I had the chance to make more ninja friends from other states and play on new obstacles.”
Benny first jumped on an obstacle course which was set up outside where his mum was doing fitness at Todd’s Personal Training Studio. Now it’s the same spot where Benny does all his own training with the two people he looks up to for help and guidance.
“My coaches Todd and Cory are the best mentors and have taught me so much and are always trying to help me get better,” he says. “And Ashlin Herbert is my favourite ninja (from Australian Ninja Warrior), because he is superfast and so strong.”
While he cites learning new tricks and spending time with his ninja friends as his favourite part of the sport, Benny also finds time to dabble in other areas of interest, including Little Athletics, rock climbing, swimming and even reading. An eagerness to expand on his ninja skills has meant the family home also plays a part in Benny’s training, with a set up in the backyard.
“At home I have monkey bars, some grips and I just got a new salmon ladder,” Benny says. “But Dad is building a new shed to put more obstacles in for my brothers and I because we spend so much time on our monkey bars.”
Benny’s parents Tegan and Daniel couldn’t be more proud of their son’s achievements and are very much looking forward to seeing what the future brings as he continues to advance his ninja abilities.
“We love watching him learn new things and seeing how determined he is to achieve his goals,” Tegan says. “He works very hard and has to overcome a lot of fears. He is terrified of heights but still sends himself flying through the air, so I love seeing how good he feels once he's overcome something that he's been afraid of. We are so proud of how strong he is and how hard he tries.”
Despite how tough ninja is and the toll it can take on the body both physically and mentally, Tegan highlights how much Benny pushes through the pain to achieve his goals.
“He has the hands of a 60-year-old concreter, they are so rough and blistered, but he will still be out on his monkey bars every day regardless,” she says with a laugh. “And we also love our ninja family at Todd's Personal Training. Benny has plenty of older kids to look up to and the kids and other families are all so encouraging of each other. When the kids learn new things, everyone is celebrating with them. We are so excited to watch their little team compete and have fun doing what they love.”
Benny has been busy training for the Australian Ninja Games national competition (held in January) after finishing first in the Queensland Ninja Games back in October. It’s all building to his ultimate goal of international ninja competition.
“I would absolutely love to make it to the world championships in America one day,” he says. “The top five boys and girls in each age group at nationals get to go there.
“And at the moment I am really trying to learn the salmon ladder and get better at my balance obstacles too.”