Kwalikum track star has eye on the Olympics

Another excellent season for Thomas Riva of the University of Victoria just named the Canada West Male Track Athlete of the Year, again.

It’s been another excellent season on the track, indoor and outdoor, for Thomas Riva of the University of Victoria. Riva was just named the Canada West Male Track Athlete of the Year, his second in a row.

“It was a pretty cool experience,” Riva said. “It’s always nice to be recognized for the work you’re doing. I’d say winning it this year was more validation for me than anything, being able to win it again.”

After a successful Canada West track meet, Riva is heading to Windsor, Ontario, for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national track meet, where he’ll have a chance to remain on top in his events.

Riva, a 2010 Kwalikum Secondary grad, has been dominant during his time on the track for the UVic Vikes. At the Canada West meet, Riva broke the men’s 1,000 meter record, set by Daryl Fillion (Manitoba) in 1996, with a time of 2:22.84 on his way to the gold medal. Riva was also on the 4×800 relay team that won gold and also set a new Canada West championship record with 7:35.64.

For his efforts, both individual and as a member of the relay team, Riva earned Athlete of the Year title and Male Performance of the Meet.

Riva is no stranger to the podium. At the Canada West meet alone he finished in first place three out four times in the 1,000 metre, finishing second in 2014.

“The competition has been getting better every year,” Riva said. “I’m still nervous going into it every time I race, but it’s exciting when I step out there and get to run in any race.”

Riva is is now focused on the CIS championships which will see him running in the 1,000 metre, 1,500 metre and 4×800 relay, where he’ll most likely be the anchor.

“I’m feeling good heading into it,” Riva said. “Everything has come together pretty good leading up to it and I’m heading into this one hoping to add a little more hardware to the collection. It should be good.”

Being his last season with the Vikes, Riva will have another crack at the World University Games (in Korea) later this year and then will turn his attention to the Pan-Am Games, which will be held in Toronto this summer. From there, Riva hopes to one day find himself in the Olympics.

“The Olympics is definitely on the radar,” Riva said. “That’s been the focus for the last four years, trying to put myself in a position to say, alright, I think I can make this team.”

“There’s still work to be done but if I can crack the team in 2016, which would be a bonus. 2020 is the target but you just never know.”

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