South Africa triathlete star, Kira Ribbink, will be joining her older sister, Kayla, in the United States of America next year after she was offered a scholarship by one of the most prestigious universities.
Kira has represented the country at various competitions, including the 2020 Maselspoort ATU Africa Cup, 2020 and 2021 Troutbeck ATU Triathlon Junior Africa Cup and 2021 Africa Triathlon Championship.
The scholarship will offer Ribbink a chance of getting the exposure she needs to get to the next level in both her sporting and academic career.
Speaking with Tatenda Gondo in a brief chat, Ribbink reflects on 2021 and looks forward to the future.
Kira, sports-wise may you please tell us how your 2021 season was?
My year sports-wise was fairly successful considering all the challenges athletes have faced with the Delta and Omnicron variants of the Coronavirus. I managed to claim two top honours. One at African Triathlon championships in Egypt, which I was proud of and the other in Zimbabwe at the Troutbeck ATU Triathlon Junior Africa Cup.
I am making my way towards America to continue my triathlon journey and achieve my dreams even further. Nevertheless, I always like to end the year strong physically and mentally knowing I am improving and that there is room for further improvement and so far I have successfully achieved that to close 2021.
How were you able to balance studying for matric exams and sports?
Matric is a tough year mentally and physically for any student whilst being an athlete requires one to train daily which is extra harder. I gave off my best where and when I could. I received a lot of support from my family and this helped me throughout the matric stage. Matric wasn’t my best year mentally but academically I achieved my best marks in my whole high school career therefore I am proud of myself.
I am one person who does not put pressure on myself either for academics or sporting events. I like to be calm and prepared but when it came to my final exams I really struggled with anxiety. I tell you it was not a nice feeling but it’s over now and I am glad I am moving onto bigger things. Balancing is always a difficult skill to master as an athlete but I think I can successfully tick that box.
We understand you are heading to the USA to further your studies! What will you be studying towards?
Helping people has always been something that I wanted to do either teaching or occupational therapy I have always wanted to be helpful and have flexible working hours.
I am happy to announce that I will be studying psychology following in my elder sister Kayla’s footsteps who is also studying psychology at Lenoir Rhyne University.
I am excited about this next chapter because I am confident that it will not only benefit me but also others around me.
How did you feel when you heard that you had been awarded a scholarship?
It is always a great feeling when you realise that your hard work has finally paid off. I am glad I trusted the process. I am very proud of myself now I am one step closer to achieving my dream. I am on the right path and none of it would’ve been possible without my family.
Any idea which sport you will be playing at varsity?
At College I will be participating in triathlon team division and possibly running track which will be new to me, but still, I am excited to try new things. In future I hope I will be able to join the cross-country team.
Photo 1 Caption: South Africa triathlete star, Kira Ribbink, will be joining her older sister, Kayla, in the United States of America next year after she was offered a scholarship by one of the most prestigious universities. Photo: Egyptian Triathlon Federation (Facebook)