By Brad Culp on 12/05/10 at 7:21 pm
Only two months ago, Barbara Riveros Diaz and Alexander Brukhankov were relative unknowns in the triathlon world. That all changed on April 11 in Sydney, when Riveros Diaz won the women’s race at the opening round of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series and Brukhankov finished as the runner-up in the men’s contest. After round two of the Series last weekend in Seoul, the 22-year-old Chilean (Riveros Diaz) and the 23-year-old Russian (Brukhankov) are on top the 2010 world rankings, a tremendous accomplishment for the pair of youngsters.
About Barbara Riveros Diaz
Riveros Diaz came up through ITU’s Sport Development programme, a project to help support promising young athletes from countries without a well-developed national federation. She competed in the Junior World Championships for the first time in 2002, finishing 45th, and then finished ninth at the 2005 Junior World Championships in Gamagori, Japan. The following season, at only age 18, Riveros Diaz won two Pan American events. As the top-ranked Pan-American athlete, she earned an Olympic slot for the Beijing Olympic Triathlon in 2008, finishing 25th.
The 4-foot 11-inch Riveros Diaz turned her attention to the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series last year, and showed plenty of promise, especially after finishing fifth in Hamburg. She began training with coach Darren Smith’s squad in Australia during the off-season, giving her the opportunity to train side by side with the likes of Lisa Norden, Sarah Groff and Vendula Frintova. The new training group appears to be working for the young Chilean, as she kicked off this year’s season with a pair of wins at the South American Games before winning the Series opener in Sydney. After finishing as the runner-up last weekend in Seoul, Riveros Diaz sits atop the women’s world rankings with 1,540 points, putting her 170 points ahead of reigning world champ Emma Moffatt.
Click here for a recent interview with Barbara Riveros Diaz.
About Alexander Brukhankov
Brukhankov began competing in sports in an early age, trying everything from swimming and running to shooting and military competitions. He competed in his first triathlon in 2002 and caught the eye of a number of coaches and athletes. His first taste of success on the International level came in 2006 when he finished second in the Junior category at the European Triathlon Championships, which he followed up with a runner-up finish at the Junior World Championships in Switzerland later that year.
The Russian competed in his first Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, finishing 24th overall. Inspired by his first Olympic competition, Brukhankov had a breakthrough season in 2009, finishing third at the ETU European Championships in Holten and third at the World Championship Series event in Hamburg. After wrapping up the season with a tenth-place showing at the Gold Coast Grand Final, Brukhankov finished last season 11th in the world rankings. Coming off of a solid off-season of training, Brukhankov enters the 2010 season in the best shape of his life, as shown by his runner-up finish in Sydney and fifth-place performance in Seoul. Brukhankov currently leads the world rankings with 1,326 points, putting him only 25 points ahead of Sydney winner Bevan Docherty.
Click here for a recent interview with Alexader Brukhankov.