Where are they now
Leif Selby may not have been off our screens for long, however many people still wonder what Selby is up to in his second retirement.
As it was well publicised, Selby announced his retirement from International competition after his silver medal winning performance at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
When the opportunity arose to put his hat back in the ring for selection in the 2012 World Championships in Adelaide, Selby knew this was his chance to claim gold in the only singles event that eluded him, the World Singles Championships.
Selby had a run of singles success that included the 2008 & 2011 Australian Opens, the 2008 Australian Indoor, the 2008 World Champion of Champion Singles and the 2009 & 2010 World Indoor Cup; however it was that coveted World Outdoor Singles title that he desired.
Whilst Australian’s saw Selby at the height of his game, winning countless titles and sitting comfortably at the top of the world rankings, there were still up’s and down’s endured during his time wearing the green and gold.
Selby was first selected to represent Australia at the 2007 Asia Pacific Championships in Christchurch and recalls the proud moment when he heard of his selection.
“Australian Coach Cameron Curtis phoned me, I hadn’t been in the squad very long so I wasn’t expecting it; however once I got that call I felt that all the practice as a junior had paid off and it was certainly a very proud moment for me,” Mr Selby said.
Selby was teamed up with Nathan Rice in the pairs and was second for Mark Casey in the fours; the two disciplines went through the event undefeated and Selby brought home the first of many international gold medals.
However; despite riding the highs of the sport Selby received the dreaded phone call to say that he had not been selected in 2008 World Championship team.
Some might say that everything happens for a reason; Leif Selby’s chance at a World title would come some four years later on home soil and Selby’s name would go down in history as being a member of Australia’s most successful team, bringing home a total of five gold and two silver medals.
Everything he had ever practiced for came down to one moment; Selby’s final bowl in the 2012 World Singles Final.
“As a junior you always dream about that final bowl you will play to win a world title, playing the big shot to win the match” Mr Selby said.
All those dreams came true when Selby drove Ryan Besters bowl out to win the World Singles title, to then be almost tackled by his team mates who rushed out onto the green to celebrate with their mate.
That feeling of winning the ultimate prize in bowls was enough to send Selby back into retirement a very happy and accomplished man.
Selby played over 150 games for New South Wales, he played 160 games for Australia and made life-long friends in the sport; however he now devotes more time to his 15 year old daughter Jasmine (a rising swimming star) and coaches 18 juniors from the Warilla Junior Bowls Academy.
Selby still mixes it with the best, currently playing third for the World’s best player Alex Marshall MBE in grade one pennant at their home club Warilla.
Though we don’t see Selby on the green’s as much as we would like, if you are in the Illawarra area you may catch a glimpse of the World Champ screaming past you on his motorbike!
In years to come we may see some of Selby’s junior prodigies following in his footsteps, winning gold for Australia.