BY MARIO CONDE
Hard work and dedication helped Zahira Rivas to qualify for the world triathlon competition and representing Team USA.
Rivas, a Calexico resident, has been training and competing in triathlon and is now preparing for the biggest challenge of her life in the sport she embraced several years ago. An active athlete since eight years old, Rivas wakes up very early in the morning and trains several times a day to prepare for the International Triathlon Union’s World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam, Netherlands from September 14-17.
Rivas is a teacher at Imagine School and has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in nutrition, in health education. She is currently working on obtaining her teachers credential.
“After I had my son, I started riding a bike and began participating in races and started winning. I learned I had the capacity to win so I started competing,” Rivas said.
Rivas started competing in Mexicali when she was thirtytwo years old by participating in duathlons. She then started participating in San Diego triathlons.
“I prepare myself mentally. I also do swimming and bike with cycling clubs and train three times a day,” she said.
Rivas won a San Diego competition where she placed second and qualified for the triathlon nationals in Omaha, Nebraska. She then won a spot on the world championship team. The ITU Triathlon Series crowns an annual world champion.
There are eight rounds of competition culminating in a Grand Final race. Athletes compete head-to-head for points in these races that will determine the overall ITU world champion. The competition starts first with a 1,500 meter swim followed by a 10-kilometer bike ride and a ten kilometer run.
Rivas said her family and children have been very supportive in preparing for the big competition this month.
“I’m astonished and I still can’t believe it. I think I’m just waiting for the moment to be here because it’s been a year of training. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go to the Netherlands because of my work and my kids, and the trip itself is too long,” Rivas said.