Honour for Paralympic wheelchair rugby hopeful

JOSH Hose is actively chipping away at his dream of making his first Paralympics with the Australian Wheelchair Rugby team.

The former Camperdown resident, who is based in Melbourne, follows a strict six-day training program which involves regular flights to Queensland to practice with the national squad.

Later this year the 24-year-old will jet to the United Kingdom and South Korea for major international competitions, which will be a telling factor in both Australia’s and Hose’s selection for the London Paralympics next year.

But wind the clock back five years and life wasn’t so adventurous — it was honest hard work.

Hose was recovering from a car accident and had simple, short-term goals which weren’t nearly as lofty as the Olympics.

“I was in a coma for three weeks so there was a lot of muscle wasting,” he told The Standard this week.

“(Warrnambool physiotherapist) Toby Pettigrew helped me to get by muscle strength back, which helped get my independence back.”

Wheelchair rugby went from being part of Hose’s rehabilitation to taking up most of his calendar.

Last night he was the toast of the South West Sport (SWS) Sports Star Awards when he collected the 2010 Chairperson’s Medal.

“I was humbled,” Hose said. “It was a totally unexpected award.

“You don’t do all the training for the recognition but it’s nice when you do get recognised.”

The Chairperson’s Medal is given to athletes who developed as juniors in the south-west but are no longer residents of the region due to their pursuit of sporting excellence.

Recipients must also fit the criteria of being a good role model for the community.

There is no doubt Hose fits the bill.

Last year he produced a sparkling season on the court and continued his work as a motivational speaker at hospitals.

He was involved in the Australian Steelers’ silver medal performance at the World Wheelchair Rugby

Championships in Vancouver in September and begun his pre-season training for the Paralympics a month later.

But the busy athlete never seems to tire.

“It did (take its toll) at the start but you get used to it,” he said.

“My medium-term goal is to be selected for the London games and to do that I have to persist with the constant training and keep fit.”

Since debuting for Australia in 2009 at the Asia-Oceania Zone Championships, Hose has grown as a top key goal scorer. But he hasn’t forgotten his home connections.

Hose has practiced on the basketball court of his former school Mercy Regional College, works out in the gym of his brother — and personal trainer — Nick in Camperdown and has attended the Tri-State Wheelchair Rugby Border Bash in Hamilton.

The lively award winner said he would not be leaving the court any time soon.

“I just enjoy the physical nature of the game,” he said.

“It’s a good, fast team sport.”

- For a full list of winners, photos and more from the SWS Sports Star Awards see The Standard tomorrow.

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