Rivero holds court for Peru
Series on Olympic Scholarship Holders, Beijing 2008. Today: Claudia Rivero.
Claudia Rivero is the leading female badminton player from South America, and one of just nine athletes from Peru who will go to the Olympic Games in Beijing. What’s more, the 21-year-old from Lima has her own blog on the CNN website and is fast becoming something of a media favourite in her home country.
New way of life
For the past two years, Rivero has been living and training in Saarbrücken, south-west Germany, thanks to her Olympic scholarship. “Moving to Germany was very hard for me,” she noted recently in her blog, “especially because I had to quit my course in business studies and I had to leave my father, sister and dog - I love dogs. I had to start a new life in a different continent but with time I learned to adjust to the German rules, way of life - and sausages!”
Rivero started playing badminton with her sister when she was 10 years old. “At first she used to win, but soon I won more often than she did,” she says. “In fact there have been many times when we had to compete in competitions against each other in national championships or to win a place in a tournament.”
Recently Rivero returned home for a two-week break, soon after capturing the X Miami Pan Am International, her best achievement so far. “The president of the Peruvian Olympic Federation announced that I officially qualified for Olympics so all the media wanted to talk to me,” she said. “After some time they really got in the way, but I know badminton needs more publicity so people can see it is a beautiful sport.”
“There was even a special photo shoot for a magazine that I like; I had to pose with different cocktail dresses and pretend I was playing badminton. It was hard and it took forever to do the make-up, but it was fun.” After that it was back to Saarbrücken. “It helps that there are 19 other players here,” she says. “I’ve made some good friends with the same interests as me, and now I even have a boyfriend!”
For the Beijing Olympic Games, Olympic Solidarity awarded a total of 1,088 scholarships to 166 National Olympic Committees in 21 individual Olympic sports.
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