The Costa Rican Open Women’s crew is composed of Marianela Castro – Captain, Cintya Escobar Valverde, Hannah Brown, Esther Mata, Melida Barbee with the Coach – Alexander Segura, and they will be representing Costa Rica at the up coming 2016 R4 WRC at Wadi Adventure, Al Ain, UAE.
We chatted to Marianela to learn about their success so far.
“The Turrialba Women’s Rafting Team, has been training hard since the beginning of this year to get to where we are now. We won the Costa Rican National Championship on the Sarapiqui River in May and recently achieved one gold medal and three bronze medals in the World Cup in Yushu China.”
“Winning gold in the downriver was a moment of great satisfaction for us; we gave our all to paddle down the Batang and into the Yangtze. The altitude in Yushu was a challenge for our team, but after the first day with headaches and dizziness we started to get used to the air. (See video of them in H2H against China) The Batang and the Yangtze River were great whitewater experiences to add to our team’s curriculum and our confidence in our upcoming performance in the WRC 2016.
Our goal this year is to honor Costa Rica and bring home another collection of medals.”
“We train on three rivers – the Reventazon, Pejibaye and Pacuare. All three rivers are within a half hour drive from our town and range from class II to class IV rapids. We train technique and endurance in a flat section on the Reventazon River and whitewater skills on the Pejibaye and Pacuare rivers. We train together 3 days a week from 5 -7am or evenings 4-6pm. Besides our training time on the water we keep up with our personal training by running and working out at the gym. All team members make great sacrifices to train before or after long work days.”
As you are moms, how do you manage it and how do your children react to what you do? – “Many of our team members are mothers and have the challenge of juggling training, work and motherhood. We often have to wake up at 4 in the morning so we can start training at 5am and finish before the school day starts at 7am. We have to rush home in time to see our kids off to school before going to work or even bring them along and get them ready for school where we train. Each of us have our own personal strategies as to how we balance being working mothers and athletes.”
“Our team has been competing and evolving since 2008; we’re focused on promoting women’s rafting and open our arms to train new athletes. We’ve competed in Pan-American Argentina, Brazil and Canada achieving medals in slalom and downriver. We’ve also competed in World Championships in Bosnia & Herzegovina, New Zealand and Indonesia.”
What sponsors would you like to thank?
“We want to thank our families and friends for supporting us in our process to get to the WRC. We also want to thank our Sponsor Corbana/Corporación Bananera de Costa Rica who helped make it possible for us to participate this year, Travesias Naturales who facilitated the boat to train in, and Fredy who supported us the whole the time during this process, we do not have enough words to thank him.”
You can follow their work via their Facebook Page: Equipo-Femenino-de-Rafting-Turrialba.
It’s incredible to see what they have managed to achieve so far, sacrificing so much, but that’s the price we have to pay on the road to success. Success is measured not only by medals but also by actions. They are the real role models for their children and motivation to others. The competition in the UAE will not be easy, and they know it, but they do not lack motivation and perseverance for their goals. In this endeavour we wish them a good stroke and a nice time in WRC.