O’Shea can look to Brownlee for inspiration

Rising star of triathlon Sam O'Shea
Rising star of triathlon Sam O'Shea
Emma Montiel was the first woman home in the 243rd Southsea parkrun. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

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Port Solent teenager Sam O’Shea won’t need to look far for inspiration when he becomes the youngest-ever competitor in the prestigious Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.

The 14-year-old, who is now based in Dubai, will line up against some of the planet’s finest athletes for one of the top triathlon races in the world in March.

But one person O’Shea will be looking up to more than any other will be Team GB’s Alistair Brownlee – a gold medal winner at London 2012 and back-to-back European Triathlon Union champion.

Brownlee’s brilliant performance in last year’s Olympic triathlon around Hyde Park – along with his brother Jonny, who picked up bronze – proved a real inspiration for O’Shea.

Already, the winner of major triathlon and duathlon events out in his new homeland, including the 2XU Triathlon in Dubai, the talented teenager is already showing he can be one of the sports next big stars.

Yet it was Brownlee’s summer heroics which made O’Shea believe he too can make it as a major star.

And with the world number one set to line up alongside the record-breaking youngster on the stunning Abu Dhabi Corniche beach, O’Shea is determined to prove his status as a rising star in triathlon.

‘Watching Alistair Brownlee win the triathlon gold medal at London 2012 convinced me that this is what I want to do with my life,’ said O’Shea.

‘I am so excited that he is coming to compete in Abu Dhabi this year – he is the biggest name in our sport and will definitely be the one to beat.’

No stranger to top-level competition, O’Shea has the experience to deal with the pressure of competing in such a famous race.

Since moving to UAE two years ago, the youngster has excelled in major races and represented the UAE in the World Biathlon Championships in Dubai.

He has now set his sights on winning the age-group category in Abu Dhabi.

After joining the Abu Dhabi Striders running club, the Abu Dhabi Triathlon Club and his school swimming club, this year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon will be O’Shea’s biggest challenge to date.

Now in its fourth year, the Abu Dhabi showpiece, which is sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, offers one of the sport’s richest prize purses.

The event, which takes place on March 2, includes a 1.5k swim, 100k bike and 10k run.