At the last WRF World Rafting Championship in Tunceli (Turkey) Brazil got the over all gold, placing first in the downriver and the slalom.
We talked with one of its member about his river experience and the current worldwide situation.
Thiago, when was your first rafting experience? What other sports do you practice?
I practice slalom kayaking, extreme kayaking and mountain bike.
My city is divided by the homonymous river Piracicaba that hosted the Brazilian Rafting Championship in 2003.
I used to paddle there with a close-knit team of slalom kayaking, so we decided to venture out, train as a team and we finally participated in the National Champs. Rafting is a great part of my life since then.
Rafting is the only team sport you practice. What did you learn from paddling together? And from rafting in general?
The main reason for me to paddle in rafting is the team: you learn how to deal with people, physically and mentally; rafting reminds me that we cannot achieve anything in life alone. I gave a talk at a company about rafting and I realised how much you can apply the river principles on the ground, out of the river in the daily life. If we work together we can’t have different goals: the objective has to be common so the team can evolve. The river makes you feel part of something and when you paddle together this feeling is complete.
I learned to respect nature, thanks to the river. It is a part of my life and at the same time I am a part of nature: you can’t play with it, but in it. And while you are enjoying nature you understand how important is to preserve and protect it.
WRF World Rafting Championship in Turkey, June 2019
How did Covid-19 change your life? What is the goal for you now?
Covid-19 certainly changed the whole world. I personally learnt to take care of my self more often, considering both the body and the mind. I have a bicycle store and my business increased a lot since the sport is exponentially growing every day: people are more aware of what they can do now.
A concrete dream that the whole rafting community should think about is “Rafting at the Olympics”: I may be biased but our sport has much to give and offers so many opportunities and examples that are worthy of the Olympic recognition.
Personally, my biggest goal in 2021 is to win in France and reconfirm the title of World Champion with my teammates William Ferraz, Antônio José, Martins Salvati, Samuel Barbosa de Almeida and Fernando Tarcíso schamne Simões. We are training everyday with our coach Marcelo Ferreira and we are looking forward to compete there. See you in France!