The Rise of Riveros
The womens race at the Hamburg Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship event saw a remarkable feat as two athletes from the ITUs Sport Development Programme made it into the top five, with Swedens Lisa Norden in second and Barbara Riveros Diaz from Chile in a career-high finish of fifth.
Although Norden is a well established athlete with European and world series medals to her name, the largely unheard of Riveros proved herself to be one to watch as the sport moves forward towards the London 2012 Olympic Games.
At 21 years of age, Riveros first became recognised at an ITU Sport Development camp in Edmonton, Canada, in 2004. Later that year she posted one of the fastest run splits at the ITU Triathlon Junior World Championships in Gamagori, Japan, to finish ninth aged just seventeen.
In 2006 Kristine Chambers from ITU Sport Development arranged for Riveros to travel to Australia for three months to train with coach Jamie Turner and to attend the University of Wollongong to study English.
That year, despite being lapped out at the Edmonton World Cup and finishing a lowly fiftieth in Tiszaujvaros, the Chilean continued to improve and in 2008 she took fifth place at the ITU u23 Triathlon World Championships
As the highest ranked Pan American athlete she was rewarded with a spot at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where she finished an impressive 25th.
After the Olympic Games Riveros returned to Australia and concentrated on improving her swim capacity and took third at the 2009 Oceania Championships during the lower hemisphere summer.
A small knee injury in the lead up to the first leg of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series meant that the Chilean didnt have the best of starts, however promisingly made the front swim pack for the first time at the event in Tongyeong. Madrid saw the end of the injury and Riveros turned her attention to the summer events, building up with 16th in Washington, DC and 11th at the Hy-Vee Elite Cup in Des Moines over back to back weekends.
For those involved within ITU Sport Development her fifth place Hamburg came as no surprise, and more than made up for a puncture sustained on the course back in 2007 when Riveros was cycling with the lead pack.
As the ITUs Libby Burrell explains:
I cannot say enough good things about young Barbara Riveros. She is a tenacious young athlete that fully understands what it takes to be a champion. She is small in stature but big in heart. She has shown commitment to her goals by relocating to be with her coach Jamie Turner in Australia where together they can work on their long term goal being a medal contender at the Olympic Games. No sacrifice is too big for this young lady from Chile, and besides being a huge athletic talent she is one of the nicest young people you could ever wish to meet. Barbara personifies what ITU Sport Development can mean to an athlete as long as they are prepared to grab the opportunities with both hands and live their dream to the full. She inspires me in so many ways and she will go on to inspire many more athletes like herself along the way.
Barbaras capacity to travel to the global events and to be based in Vitoria, Spain, is only made possible through the support of the Chilean Olympic Committee and the significant contribution by ITU Sport Development. ITU Sport Development has supports athletes from developing triathlon nations through a variety of benefits. Most notably there are Sport Development camps held across the world which gives athletes a chance to learn and train with renowned coaches. Sport Development funding is also provided, as well as race support at international events including coaching, mechanical and massage.