CAMPERDOWN export Josh Hose will return to Australia with a Paralympic gold medal around his neck.
Hose’s Paralympic debut followed a fairytale script.
His wheelchair rugby team went through the London tournament undefeated, collecting gold for the first time.
The Australian Steelers defeated Canada in the gold medal match 66-51 in the early hours of yesterday morning AEST.
It was the final medal decided on the final day of the competition, Australia’s 32nd gold medal of the games and 85th in total.
Australia started strongly and had an 18-11 advantage at quarter-time, then extended its lead at every change.
Hose played four minutes and 35 seconds, scoring one goal and making one steal.
His proud grandparents Tom and Lois Hose watched the final unfold in Camperdown. “It was great,” Tom said.
“We were pretty confident with the way it (the tournament) was going but the way the game progressed we got more confident.
“They are a pretty good team. They are the best in the world.
“I thought Josh played very well. “There are 12 players and you don’t get a lot of time on the court.
“He played in the third quarter and I thought he played very well.”
Tom said his grandson had enormous support in London, with 15 family and friends making the trip.
The group was dubbed “Hosey’s Heroes”.
“My son Anthony rang this morning from England and they had been to the closing ceremony and that was pretty exciting,” Tom said.
Hose sustained serious head, chest and spinal injuries when he and three mates were in a car that rolled near Port Campbell on Australia Day 2005.
He turned his attention to wheelchair rugby and quickly moved up the ranks, winning a silver medal at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Vancouver in September 2010.
He made the Australian Steelers’ Paralympic team in May.
Tom said it was testament to his grandson’s character and determination. "We’re very proud, not only that he’s achieved gold but what he’s done after a serious accident," he said.
"The most important thing is you move on with your life."
Hose went to school at St Patrick’s Primary School and Mercy Regional College in Camperdown.
He visited both schools before he flew to London, speaking to students about his journey and expectations for the ames.
St Patrick’s principal Michael McKenzie said it was hoped Hose would visit the school with his gold medal.
"We are really proud of him and what he’s been able to do and look forward to catching up," he said.
"The feeling is of immense pride.
"The older kids wrote letters of encouragement to him.
"You feel part of it."
McKenzie watched Hose play and said he held his own. "I sat up and watched him and the team with a lot of pride," he said.
"It was a tough old game.
"The Aussies were lucky to have Ryley Batt — he is an absolute gun."
Mercy Regional College teacher Justin Staunton said Hose was a good role model.
"With any kid you like to see them do as well as they can to achieve their aim," he said.
"I am very excited for him and his family.
"To know what he’s gone through makes it that little bit more special."
Hampden Hotel owner Simon Myers said a group of locals watched Australia defeat Japan in the semi-final on Saturday night but licensing restrictions meant the hotel closed before the gold medal match.
Myers said Hose always visited the hotel when he was home from Melbourne.
"I’m sure when he gets home he’ll be in here having a few drinks with his friends to celebrate," he said.
Reigning champions USA collected the bronze medal, beating Japan 53-43.