Ben Cohen risks Strictly win to help bullying victims

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ben Cohen is facing a difficult balancing act between his training for the show and his work for his anti-bullying charity.

The rugby ace founded the StandUp campaign six years after his father Peter was killed attempting to protect another man in a nightclub.

The charity was recently launched in the US – and Ben admitted he has missed opportunities for training with pro partner Kristina Rihanoff in order to fly to the US and promote the cause.

Speaking about his work with the foundation, he told the Sunday People: “My dad stood up to bullying and lost his life protecting someone else.

“It drove me to be the best player in the world and win the World Cup (in 2003) but certainly the emotions that death caused in my family was devastating.

“I don’t like bullying full stop. It is not just about here and now either, it stays with people all their lives.”

However sources close to the rugby expressed concerns over his ability to juggle both his StandUp work and his Strictly rehearsals.

“Ben’s had slightly less than three weeks to train but he did 44 hours last week,” a source told the paper.

“Those close to Ben are worried as he has to go to the US for work which leaves him with ­little time to train.

“However he has always maintained that the work he does in his father’s memory is the most important thing for him. He retired from rugby to focus on his charity work.”

Ben made his Strictly debut with Kristina on Saturday night, receiving mixed reviews for his cha cha.