Since losing his left leg in a road traffic accident in 2009, Oxford based Jozef Metelka (27), has not let his disability hold him back. In fact, he positively relishes the challenge of not only matching, but incredibly beating, his able-bodied sporting rivals!
Prior to his accident, Jozef was a professional tennis coach and has always had a hunger for sport and competition.
As he explains, “Growing up in Slovakia, I was always out skiing, cycling, playing tennis or suchlike. So, after my accident, I was determined to get back to enjoying these activities. I think losing my leg has even made me more determined.”
Thanks to his drive and positive attitude, along with some specialist prosthetic limbs, Jozef has returned to the ski slopes of Europe (competing in the Slovakian Paralympic ski team) and has recently smashed his way onto the cycling scene, not only in Paracycling competition, but incredibly also winning National races!
At his first World Championship Paracycling event, in Mexico, he recently won three medals (1 gold and 2 silver), as well as a world record. These successes followed national wins against non-adaptive athletes, in races up to 200kms!
Jozef explained, “I love racing in mainstream races. Sometimes I don’t think that they can quite believe that a guy with one leg is challenging them!” He added, “But it’s all good experience for my Paralympic aspirations”
Although two years away, Jozef is already looking forward to Rio in 2016, as he explains, “Hopefully, if I continue to develop, I can challenge for medals at the Paralympics, which will be incredible.”
Prosthetist Jamie Gillepsie, who looks after Jozef’s prosthetic requirements at Pace Rehabilitation’s clinic in Chesham (Bucks), is regularly amazed. As he explains, “To be competing at this level is quite remarkable. Jozef certainly keeps us on our toes as he pushes the boundaries.”
When asked how far he thinks he can go, with a wry grin Jozef replied, “Well, no amputee has ever done the Tour de France, maybe that would be good?”
Based on his achievements thus far, perhaps this will become a reality…?