Veteran field athlete Cleopatra Borel finished seventh out of 12 finalists with a best heave of 18.37 metres during the final of the Women’s Shot Put event at the XXXI Olympic Games on a cool Friday night at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
American Michelle Carter came from behind to stun the event leader and the field with a throw on 20.63 metres on her last effort that pushed the defending champion and event leader Valarie Adams of New Zealand in second place behind 20.42 metres.
Borel, who reached the finals after she qualified in overcast conditions which comprised heavy winds and rain in the morning programme with a best effort of 18.20 metres, looked comfortable in the finals and produced efforts of 18.05, 18.24, then a foul, followed by 17.94, and 18.37 before another foul effort, but she managed to maintained her seventh place throughout the finals.
Borel, a veteran of four Olympics said after: “This is it. I’m good.”
Her relaxed demeanour was in contrast to her show of emotion earlier in the day when she learned that she had qualified.
Borel had earlier qualified for the medal round of 12. Her quest for goal and to qualify for her first Olympic finals started in a very difficult Group A , which included 18 participants among who was her regular training partner and Olympic champion Adams.
Borel, who spoke to the media after said: “I had a great career and I hope my efforts influenced young to pick up the sport.” She started off the preliminaries slowly with her first throw of 16.94 metres. Her second outing of 17.78 placed her in 11th position overall among the two groups of 36 in total.
However, not leaving any doubt about her momentum the Mayaro-native improved to 18.20 with her third and final attempt, to finish fourth in Group A and overall eight to finish in the top 12 and qualify for the final, which was scheduled to take place last night at 9.05 pm (TT time).
An elated Borel asked the trackside interviewer “Did I make it, did I make to the finals?”
“Oh that is good, I knew I was in fourth but was not certain of overall position, I felt very comfortable today. Maybe too comfortable and this all came from my warms up which were quite good.
“Now I have to just get myself in the right motion and my mind ready for later (Friday). I have been waiting for this for four years so this is just a wonderful feeling.”
Questioned on what was needed to win a medal, she had said: “I believe I have a big throw in me and I am hoping that tonight that can happen. I just feel happy and so far so good. Now I will relax a little and plan for tonight (Friday).”
Borel has a season’s best of 18.78 and a personal best of 19.48. She will need close to her personal best to medal, given that Adams who was qualified in first place, threw 19.74.
“ I believe in myself and believe in those who have supported me in the past and feel ready to give it my best shot,” said Borel.