Shot putter Cleopatra Borel, will begin T&T’s bid for medals at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, when she competes in the qualifying round of her event tonight at 10.10 pm (T&T time).
It will mark Borel’s sixth appearance at the World Championships. Her best performance to date came in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 when she finished 13th overall. That year was her best ever as she improved her national outdoor record to 19.42m at the IAAF Diamond League in Paris, France. In Berlin, Germany in 2009, she narrowly missed the finals by 11 cm. Annie Alexander was T&T’s second representative in the event when she joined Borel in Berlin and placed 27th in the qualifying round with a mark of 16.01m.
At 35, Borel is the oldest of the eight female and 11 male competitors for team T&T and will be competing against 68 other international athletes. No male athlete has yet competed for T&T at the World Champs in the shot put.
This year has been a stellar year for Borel as she won gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada after bronze in 2007 (Rio de Janeiro) and silver in 2011(Guadalajara). Of all the athletes registered to compete in Beijing, Borel has the fourth best throw this year (19.26m) so the prospect of a medal is real. The NAAA wishes Borel and the team all the best on their quest for precious metal.
T&T suffered a major blow to its medal chances when Pan American bronze medallists Rondell Sorrillo and Dan-Neil Telesford were both forced out of the Championships, after coming down with injuries. With less than 36 hours before the start, team doctor Anyl Goopesingh indicated that Sorrillo had suffered a grade two strain of the quadriceps, a re-injury of the quads that first occurred during the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas three months ago, while Telesford had a loose body in his left knee.
Sorrillo was scheduled to run in tomorrow's 100m heats, while Telesford was part of the Men’s 4x100m relay pool. Both athletes were part of T&T’s Pan Am 4x100m bronze medal winning team in Toronto last month. With their departure, the team has been depleted to a bare four (Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Kyle Greaux, Mikel Thomas).
2013 World 400m hurdles champion Jehue Gordon will start the defense of his title at 6:35am (T&T time) tomorrow morning. The event is one of two in which T&T has medaled in both the male and female categories with the 100m being the other. The semifinals are set for Sunday at 6.40 am with the finals carded for Tuesday at 8.25 am.
Team T&T has earned one gold medal through Gordon, who won the one lap hurdles title in Moscow, Russia in a national record of 47.69 seconds two years ago. He became the second senior World Champion for T&T following Ato Boldon’s success in the 200m in 1997 in Athens, Greece. It also marked his second global title after capturing the 2010 World Junior crown in Moncton, Canada.
With his victory in Moscow, Gordon became the youngest ever winner of the Men’s 400m hurdles at 21 years, 243 days. He also set the record as the youngest finalist when he was fourth in the event in 2009, Berlin, Germany at 17 years, 246 days with a time of 48.26 (a then national record and the fastest ever time by a 17-year-old). He improved on the 48.66 set in the heats.
It will mark Gordon’s fourth World Championships. Following his stunning performance in Berlin, much was expected two years later in Daegu, South Korea but he bowed out in the semifinals, missing the final by 0.01 seconds.
As the reigning champion, he received an automatic spot into the championships though his 2015 season has been interrupted with injuries, which prevented him from competing at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July. He also had a spill on the IAAF Diamond League circuit, which slowed down his progress. His season’s best of 49.22 ranks him at 23rd among the athletes entered to compete. However, the UWI, QRC and Belmont Boys Secondary graduate will be determined to put in a good fight to defend his title.