RIO DE JANEIRO — Palau’s Marina Toribiong finished last in her heat, but shaved almost four seconds off her best time in the women’s kayak singles 500-meter race Aug. 17 at the Rio Olympics.
She finished in 2:14.807 time. Her previous best was 2:18.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” she said. “I feel like I did a really awesome job for myself and I think I made my country very proud.”
She competed against kayakers from Hungary, Belarus, South Africa, Germany, Turkey and Brazil at the Lagoa Stadium for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Toribiong said there’s definitely room for improvement and that she'll continue to train in the sport. She’s looking at training somewhere outside of Palau in the future.
Her mom, Debra Toribiong, said she was really proud of her daughter and that there are no words to describe what it feels like to be in Rio to cheer her daughter on in person.
“We’re just so thankful and thrilled to be here. We set a goal last year to try to make it,” she said. “We’re just full and blessed. I’m just very thankful,” she said.
Toribiong heads back to Palau on Aug. 19, Rio time, to go back to college in Palau and prepare for the Micronesia Cup in October.
She’ll switch back to outrigger canoeing to prepare for that competition, then plans to take a little break. She’s been training nonstop for the past year.
Marina Toribiong said she hopes to compete in kayak sprints in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on her own merit. She competed this year on an invitation.
Debra Toribiong said her daughter could very well achieve that goal.
“The sky's the limit. She has four years to get ready and now she knows what she needs to do. We’re excited,” Debra Toribiong said.
Source: Jerick Sablan PDN News