Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Two Mackay athletes have returned from Germany proudly bearing bronze medals after a successful campaign at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin.
Chloe Hosa and TJ Straw both represented Australia in basketball, playing in different teams but achieving the same amazing result.
The pair were selected in their teams following a series of local, state and national titles.
“It was really good to be picked,” said Ms Hosa.
“I felt really honoured and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone.”
After a quick sightseeing stop in Potsdam, the teams competed in the World Games from June 17 to 25.
“At the opening ceremony, it just hit me, like I’m actually playing against these other countries,” said Ms Hosa.
“The whole thing was incredible, I’m very lucky that I got picked to go.”
In her first World Games, Ms Hosa’s team played five matches, resulting in a bronze medal.
“We worked really hard to get that,” she said.
“To be able to beat those other teams and work together as a team was really good.
“We didn’t know each other and how we played, we had one camp for two days and that was it basically then we had to go and play as a team, and we did a really good job.
“We worked really well together and supported each other as we went.”
Ms Hosa had been fundraising for the trip since being selected, raising her funds both here in Mackay and in her hometown of Lithgow, NSW, while Mr Straw fundraised throughout the community.
With help from Special Olympics Mackay, Mr Straw fundraised through Wests Leagues Club, containers for change, Mackay Regional Council, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and his dad’s employer.
“I want to thank mum and dad for raising the money,” he said.
A humble basketballer his whole life, Mr Straw has a simple philosophy, but that didn’t stop him from getting excited about his bronze medal, adding to his collection of many medals.
“It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about having fun,” he said.
“He came back to basketball on Saturday and his game, just from being part of Worlds, he was dropping threes like there was no tomorrow,” added Mentor Kimberly Doyle.
“We all know that being part of the Special Olympics does build people’s social capacity, literacy, numeracy.
“It’s great having the weekly training, but it’s all about the pathways.”
Fundraising efforts will now turn to state games late next year where Queensland teams will be selected.
TJ Straw and Chloe Hosa. Photo supplied