Today I am honoured to write about this special “homie” of mine, the Fresh & Hungry, 19 year old Rivaldo E. Roberts. This motivated, determined and hardworking Athletics Hurdles Champion is one to watch for, with his speed, agility positive mindset. The latter is a definite recipe for success – I see a bright and successful future ahead for him.
His beginnings in the sport was a bit stormy, to the point of him falling back on his swimming and rugby at that time. He was “home coached by his mom” in athletics in his early development years – a salute you mommy! But, when the Athletics Hurdle champion streak kicked in, it kicked in with full force and intention. And here he is today, excelling and having had the honour to represent SA at various Youth Champs around the world. He is a grounded young man who believes his Faith in “the Big Man” is paramount to his success.
He has this to say about himself : “I’m a kind, friendly and a happy person. Hardworking and dedicated. Optimistic and a big dreamer”.
Athlete: Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Rivaldo Roberts|
|Date of birth||27/04/1996|
|Place of birth||Pretoria|
|Coach’s Name||Irma Reyneke|
|Out of Country events/ meets||World Youth Championships Ukraine 2013.Region 5 Games Zimbabwe 2014.African Junior Championships Ethiopia 2015|
|Secondary Sport/ sports||None unless paintball counts|
|Favorite City||Sabie not really a city but a gorgeous place. Only been there once though|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||I listen to everything even the oldies|
|Favorite Movie||Mcfarland USA and lone survivor|
|School & Grade||Die Hoërskool Menlopark class of 2014|
|Tertiary Inst Name/ Year||University of Pretoria 1st year|
|Tertiary degree/ diploma||Hcert sport science|
|Sponsors||Semi sponsored by PVM|
|Twitter and Instagram, Facebook||Twitter – Rivaldo400hInstagram – Rivaldo400Facebook – Rivaldo Egan Roberts|
|Parents Names, siblings||Keith Roberts (DAD)Beulah Roberts (MOM)Vadin Roberts(BROTHER)|
|Very briefly describe yourself as a person.||I’m a kind, friendly and a happy person. Hardworking and dedicated. Optimistic and a big dreamer.|
Q: You are passionate and doing so well in your athletics, tell me a little bit about how you started in athletics and your journey in the athletics arena up to now?
I’ve always been one to love sport since I was a child. The Olympic Games and especially the hurdle events fascinated me a lot. I use to run in primary school and didn’t train as much. Just a few runs here and there and mommy was the coach. I came from a small primary school of about 500 kids at that time. In high school grade 8 I didn’t make the track team, was too slow, I remember I ran the grade 8 meet and ran a 13.1 seconds on a 100m flat. So that didn’t work out, I went on and played rugby and did swimming. The following year I just felt like warming up over hurdles and I just felt so comfortable and was surprised because the last time I ran over a hurdle before that was grade 7. My then coach, Hanno Roux , saw me and told me Monday he wants to see me at training.
Went on and ran inter house short hurdles and was ahead of the field, but stumbled on hurdle 6 and race was lost. But there I knew I had potential. I ran that season in older age groups because of the lack of seniors and no place for me in my age group. I did everything from long jump to hurdles and found love in the hurdles. That year I met my other coach Riana Raath. She and Mr Roux worked together to make me the athlete I am today. I was not privately coached; they were part of the school coaching staff and geography teachers. The next year I had a good season because I could actually make the school team in my own age group.
AGN champs came and I didn’t do well at all. Not in terms of time because I ran a personal best (14.9) in the 110m hurdles but in terms of position and I was devastated, went on and played rugby again and then I decided “next year I’m going to the world youth champs”. I trained very hard. Harder than anyone, but with hard training came risks. I was not strong yet and didn’t gym and that took a toll on my body.
We had a meet one day and I was feeling my back but ran anyway. The next day we went to the gym for some stability work. That day my back got injured badly. I was out of training but still I was hardheaded and competed in meets and went to a training camp. Until that back pain put me out for two weeks .
When I came back it was fine and I did speed and it went again. I cried, I asked my Mom why does it happen to me. One day I was angry and frustrated and I just ran! Ran all the way to a personal best of 14.4, the week I ran that personal best everything just came together in training. And again the week after that two personal bests in 3 days 14.28 and 14.18.
AGN champs came and I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy coming second. That day I ran a 13.91 world youth qualifying time. Nationals I was not the favourite but felt a lot of pressure for some reason. That day I didn’t see hurdles, I just saw white and that was it. The gun went off and I exploded out of the blocks just running. The 8th hurdle I realized I was ahead and I’m going to win. And I won my first Nationals, a new PB of 13.84.
World youth champs came and I didn’t do so well, I came last in my heat, but that was the best thing that happened to me because after that I was even more determined. I ran 3 PB’s after worlds, 13.7, 13.69 and 13.67.
January came and I was feeling good over the higher hurdles. Had a very consistent season that year and ended in a time of 13.96 just missing out on world juniors qualifying of 13.91. That year I received a letter that I’ve been included in the team for the region 5 games in Zimbabwe in December. I won the region 5 games In a time of 13.97 which was not bad considering it was preseason.
In 2015 my season was a bit like a rollercoaster, my times were very slow and I didn’t feel good and then I pulled my hamstring 2 weeks prior to African juniors. I was very worried. I rested a week, did rehab a week and in my rehab week I raced and ran a 13.93 and I knew it was a sign that I just needed rest.
African junior champs I ran 13.66 in the heats and thought to myself I could break the SA record. Finals came and nothing went right, didn’t warm up because we had a medal ceremony for the relay and the wind was 3.4 from the front. I ended in 4th and got upgraded to 3rd because of a disqualification. After Africans my body was very tired. I asked my coach for a few days off. Nationals came and I won in a time of 14.06.
Q: What is the highest accolade that you have achieved in athletics and what is your greatest personal accomplishment?
World youth championships and my greatest personal accomplishment is 95% of the goals I set, I’ve reached.
Q: You have travelled outside SA before, what are you highlights of these travels, and what does travelling do for your mindset/ perspective on things?
The highlights are definitely experiencing the other cultures. Experiencing diversity. Travelling definitely makes me appreciate what I have and appreciate the opportunities to see other places and makes me work harder so I can travel again.
Q: You have represented Team SA for athletics before, where did you go and how did you experience it?
2013 – I went to Donetsk, Ukraine and I loved it. All the countries and the whole vibe was just amazing.
2014 – I went to Zimbabwe and that was really fun. We actually said that we would go there on a training camp someday.
2015 – I went to Ethiopia it was very nice and seeing the lifestyle of the people there I rally started to appreciate what I have more.
Q: How do you manage to fit in both sports and academics / work into your schedule?
Really hard work and time management. In varsity it’s a bit harder and I’m still learning to balance out between the two.
Q: Do you have any specific regimens or rituals in athletics? Maybe a particular diet / training method that can be partially attributed to your success?
YouTube. I watch a lot of motivational videos. I don’t have written diet but I get in what I need.
Q: Beside your athletics what do you have a passion for?
Fishing and paintball.
Q: Tell me one thing about yourself that the world does not know?
I’m not actually sure. I’m a pretty straight forward guy and everybody knows pretty much everything about me. But I’m probably the world’s slowest dresser, haha.
Q: Would you like to share a little bit more about your faith journey and how it has affected your life / sports?
It’s very important to have faith and keep on believing in yourself and in the big man. If I never had faith I would’ve never achieved what I did today.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Paintball and fishing but xbox is the best way to relax in my opinion.
Q: Which athlete / athletes inspire you?
LJ van Zyl, Wenda Nel, Kurt Couto and these athletes are all in my training group. Their hard work and dedication is amazing and what they’ve achieved is just incredible.
I also look up to Felix Sanchez, Michael Tinsley, Ed Moses and John Akii-Bua.
Q: What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
A great moment is better than a great dream. Anyone can have that dream but you create the moment.
Q: What is your favourite Bible / Scripture quote?
Proverbs 16:3 “commit all your activities to the Lord and your plans will be achieved”
Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
Q: What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Managing academics and sport. I’m still learning to manage it but it’s extremely hard but I’ll get it right
Q: When you’ve had a tough / bad day, what lifts you up again?
Sleep cures all. Oh and xbox or a killer session.
Q: I’m sure you have many things going on right now, what’s to be expected next from Rivaldo?
Well you never know what the future holds. My Olympic aim is 2020, but if God decides I can also make Rio 2016 I will be blessed. Obviously I’ll also be aiming for Worlds 2017, Commonwealth 2018 and Worlds 2019 in prep for Tokyo 2020. But the main thing is I’m just going to enjoy track and keep on trying to run fast.
Thank you Rivaldo for taking this interview. We would like to wish you all the best for your journey ahead. We look forward to following you as you go from strength to strength. Blessings!