TCS Students Represent Colombia at International Water Ski Tournament


IWWF Panamerican Wakeboard Championship, Queretaro, Mexico, November 2021.

High School students Emilio Otalvaro, Martina Piedrahita, and Sofia Palau competed at the IWWF Panamericano de Wakeboard Championship 2021 in Queretaro, Mexico November 10-14.

60 Participants from six different countries and all over the Americas attended the event, including 12 contestants from Colombia. They competed in different divisions and modalities. Martina Piedrahita, Grade 10, competed in several of them and finished 5th in general and 3rd in teams. Senior Palau finished 5th in the Pro Category, and Otalvaro, Grade 9, finished 7th in the Junior Men category.

“It felt pretty good to represent Colombia because I am proud to be able to represent my country somewhere else while doing what I like to do,” Otalvaro said.

All three of the competitors had different challenges and participated in different divisions and modalities. Piedrahita was in the 14-and-under category while Palau and Otalvaro were part of the wakeboard modality. Palau participated in the Open Category and Otalvaro in the Junior Men category. 

“The fact that I was in Pro at the world championship meant I had to ride the best I could, and the wake as well. The fact that it was a different and difficult wakeboard was just one of the many challenges I faced. I had to try and maintain myself calm as I was watching the rest of the competition because it was a really hard category to compete in,” Palau, said.

Piedrahita competed in 3 different modalities: slalom, figures, and jump. She had already competed in two other international tournaments, one Panamerican tournament, and one Latin American tournament.

“Participating in an international championship is a great achievement, even more, when it’s your own country that you’re representing. Being part of the Colombian water ski team feels excellent and more when you’re passionate about what you do,” Piedrahita said. 

Otalvaro’s rivals were pretty competitive and this was only his second international exposure and his first Panamerican competition. It was a higher challenge for him and the environment also played a crucial role in his participation.  

“I wasn’t used to the boat nor the weather, it was really cold. We also didn’t know how well the other people did in wakeboarding so at the beginning we didn’t know what we were facing,” Piedrahita said.

The tournament was initially scheduled for 2020, but due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed. Because of the inconvenience, all the competitors were included in the category they would fit into in the past year, even if they weren’t eligible this year.

“I didn’t feel affected at all by the postponement of the event because I still competed in the same category, but I did feel upset because I was really looking forward to competing after the many months of preparation,” Piedrahita said.

The tournament allowed the contestants to engage, enjoy, and watch other competitors. The event had spaces set for the participants to socialize and get to scout the environment.

“Reuniting with my friends was one of the best things. The tournament is always gonna be a tournament, but it was fun to see the world champions compete as well,” Palau said.

Even though Colombia didn’t end in first or second place, Piedrahita ended 3rd in teams, 8th, 7th, and 4th in her three modalities, 5th in overall, and Colombia’s Sub-14 Category ended 3rd.

“The best thing about competing in this tournament is the experience you get, the people you meet from different countries and cultures, the friends you get that last forever, and also getting to know different lakes and places. The experience is truly everything!” Piedrahita said.