INJURIES finally ended the rugby league career of Bundaberg's Troy O'Shea, but he is now going from strength to strength in another sport, triathlon.
The 28-year-old dynamo, who now lives in Brisbane and runs his own personal training business, competed in his first triathlon at Noosa in 2009.
But this season he has risen to new levels and, after taking out the 25-29 years men's division of the just completed three-round USM Series, he has been selected in the Australian team to contest the world championships in Beijing in September.
As a boy, O'Shea excelled at every sport he tried his hand at, but the two he really championed were surf lifesaving and rugby league. On the footy field, he was a dual Queensland representative, and he was signed by the Brisbane Broncos out of Shalom College, and he went on to play a few seasons in its colts team.
But despite also playing a lot of state league, injuries stopped him from reaching his full potential, and he finally hung up his footy boots in 2008.
O'Shea, who is a member of Brisbane's Red Dog Triathlon Club, clinched the USM series title with a second placing in the first round in Geelong, before taking out the remaining two races at Mooloolaba and Sydney.
He is excited to be taking on the rest of the world in the 25-29 years division.
“It's pretty good – it's a bit different to the old rugby league days, and to be competing at a world championship is something I could have really only dreamt about,” O'Shea said.
O'Shea said he dedicated every race to the memory of his uncle John Booth, who was also a champion in many sports, including triathlon, but lost his battle with cancer at 52 one year ago this week.
“I always print his initials on my thumbs so I can see them while I'm on the bike and he really inspires me,” he said.
O'Shea will do the Hervey Bay Triathlon on May 1, where he will compete in the elite division for the first time.
“I've qualified to race open age group now, but I'll also do Byron Bay but I'm then looking forward to resting the body a bit because it's been pretty solid, training 15-20 hours per week – now it's a bit of fun, the last two tri's of the season,” he said.
“I'll also do Noosa later in the year and hopefully work my way up to the elite level.”