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Honor James

Winter Olympic hopeful signs for Oxford

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Oxford Rugby League have completed the signing of British Bobsleigh team member Andrew Hoggins, who’ll be aiming to combine his role with the club in their 2013 Championship One campaign alongside his aspirations to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The 24-year old centre or loose forward, who has been training with the bobsleigh team in recent months, joins Oxford from the Southampton Spitfires and is relishing the prospect of testing himself at a higher level of Rugby League.

"I was offered a contract with North Wales Crusaders for the 2012 season but at the time due to logistics it just wasn't feasible for me to sign,” said Hoggins. “But I was still itching to play in Championship One so I was really excited upon hearing that Oxford were introducing a side for the 2013 season.

“My aspirations for the season are to not only develop as a player, but also to consistently make the starting 17 for Oxford RL, as well as hopefully playing some international fixtures for Germany."

Oxford coach Tony Benson was delighted to be able to add Hoggins to his squad for 2013 and has also completed the signing of a second player from the Southampton Spitfires in the form of English Lions winger or centre Oliver Johnson.

"Southampton’s head coach Glenn Tyreman is keen for his players to progress and he put a few names forward for our trial,” explained Oxford coach Tony Benson.

"Andrew has been selected for the British Bobsleigh team and has been training with them, but wanted to pursue the opportunity of playing a higher level of Rugby League and we are delighted to have him on board alongside Oli, who is big and strong, is a good runner and has excellent communication skills.”

Johnson, who recently toured Canada with the amateur international side, scoring a try hat-trick against the Canadians in Toronto, is delighted at securing the move.

"I'm looking forward to the 2013 season with Oxford,” he said. “Having our first fitness testing session together this weekend it is clear there are a lot of good players that have been signed. Not only are the signings exciting, but the coaching staff have a very impressive background so I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Southampton Spitfires coach Glenn Tyreman has also spoken about his pride in seeing two of his side’s players leave to join a professional club.

“We’re delighted to have brought on players to the point where bigger clubs are taking an interest,” said Tyreman. “Oxford are getting two great prospects. Hoggins is a tough character and likes to run hard whilst Oli is a natural finisher.”


Oxford RL Media

Ryan Cousins

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There's a history of Bobsleigh racers either doing other sports, or recruiting from other sports.

American sprint hurdler Lolo Jones has been selected for the USA Winter Olympics team, while the Australian 400m hurdler Jana Pittman is looking to do the same.

I can also remember Glenroy Gilbert, a hugely powerful sprinter, who doubled up as brakeman for Canadian team, back in the Nineties.

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There has been quite a bit of crossover in recent years

Dean Macey and Jason Gardener competed as a 2 man bob team in teh British championships in Cesana, 2008 (as I recall as some sort of TV project?)

Allan Wells also coached bobsleigh for a while

Another sprinter also had a go about 10 years ago, struggling for his name.

Now Craig Pickering is committing

Incidentally, in todays womens skeleton, current world champ Shelley Rudman, won the event and broke the track record at Winterberg twice.

Doubt the story will even feature on Ceefax never mid SPOTY. Not even a track in the UK to practice on

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