Cleopatra Borel will throw second in Group “A” in the women's shot put qualifying competition, at the IAAF World Championships here in Beijing, China tonight (TT time). The Trinidad and Tobago field athlete will see action shortly after the event begins at 10.10.
Borel's first target is 18.30 metres, the automatic qualifying distance for tomorrow's 8.05am final. She has bettered that mark 10 times in 11 outings this season, and should have no problems doing it again and advancing to her second final at the global outdoor meet.
On her only previous appearance in a World Championship final, at the 2011 edition in Daegu, Korea, Borel finished 13th with a 17.62 metres effort. She currently holds fourth spot on the 2015 world outdoor performance list at 19.26m, and will go into the competition as a genuine medal contender.
Germany's Christina Schwanitz is the world leader at 20.77m, and will carry the favourite's mantle. China's Lijiao Gong and American Michelle Carter are also challengers for the title.
Borel enjoyed a rest day yesterday, and seemed at peace with herself during an interview with the Express at the team hotel.
“I feel as though I've done everything I could possibly do. I feel relaxed because I'm going to do my best. That's all I can do. My confidence is in the knowledge that I've done the work.”
The 36-year-old field athlete said she is not focused on any particular distance, nor is she thinking about the colour of precious metal she would like to wear around her neck.
“I'm not chasing medals or anything like that because I've done that in the past and it has really stressed me out and put me in a bad position. All I can do is my very best. I can't affect how my competitors compete. If I have a good performance and it leads to a medal, I'd be grateful for that. But if I have a good performance and it doesn't lead to a medal, I'd be grateful for that as well.
“I'm taking things one step at a time. I'm looking at the qualifying, then getting into the top eight. When I start thinking about distance, that stuff just stresses me out. I'm focused on my technique, and just being relaxed and executing.”
In 28 of her 30 outings over the past two seasons, Borel has bettered the 18-metre mark, and in five of those competitions she has thrown more than 19 metres. The 2015 Pan American Games champion said the chemistry she enjoys with her Cuban coach, Ismael Lopez Mastrapa has a lot to do with her level of consistency.
“He's a good coach for me. He has a lot of knowledge, but he also respects the experience that I have. He allows me to incorporate what I know with what his training philosophy is. We can both find a happy place in the middle.”
Borel and Coach Ismael would be extremely happy if the veteran thrower is able to produce a podium finish in her sixth World Championship appearance.