Aussie selection for rising wheelchair rugby star

CAMPERDOWN wheelchair rugby player Josh Hose has been picked to play for Australia in the Asia Oceania championships in New Zealand next month.It caps off a meteoric rise for Hose, 22, who has been wheelchair-bound since a car accident on Australia Day 2005 near Port Campbell. He was paralysed from the waist down. Hose moved to Melbourne mid-last year to train and play wheelchair rugby. He swung into full training in January this year, was selected in the Australian squad in May and has now made the Australia team, which will start favourite in the Christchurch, New Zealand competition next month.''I was lucky to get in,'' Hose said yesterday.''I didn't expect this so soon. It's come as a bit of surprise. We head off on November 2 for the week-long competition.''Hose said he had been training five days a week which included sessions in the Victorian Institute of Sport gym and three wheelchair skills sessions a week.The game is played on a basketball court and has earned the nickname murderball. Hose first played last year after a background of cricket, football and basketball in Camperdown.''I'd never played anything like this. There's a lot of other blokes in the team like me - they've all got their own stories,'' he said.''The Australian side is ranked number two in the world behind America. We'll be the top ranked side in the New Zealand competition and we would expect to win.''Hose is aiming towards competing in the 2012 London Paralympic Games. He came to prominence last year in his chosen sport after earning best-on-court plaudits in the 2008 Wheelchair Sports Victoria rugby grand final. "The Australian team won silver in the latest Paralympics. The next one is four years away; I like to think I can make it,'' he has stated previously.Hose sustained serious head, chest and spinal injuries when the car he and three mates were in rolled near Port Campbell on Australia Day 2005. Then 18, he spent two weeks in a medically-induced coma at The Alfred hospital. He underwent a six-hour operation to realign his spine and had a tracheotomy for several weeks to overcome collapsed lungs. While undergoing rehabilitation in Melbourne, Hose discovered his new passion. "I was watching a few games of wheelchair rugby and it looked like fun so I decided to give it a go,'' he said.One of the fastest wheelchair sports in the world, it includes ice hockey-style checking, use of a volleyball and the rules of rugby and football.

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