TRINIDAD and Tobago's Olympic athlete Cleopatra Borel has qualified for the final of the women's shot put in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
Borel threw the ball 16.94 metres on the first of her three qualifying efforts, and improved her mark to 17.78m on her second attempt before eclipsing the 18-metre automatic qualifying mark with an 18.20m distance. That effort placed her eight overall.
Now in her fourth Olympics, the 37-year-old shot putter is in line to better her 10th place finish at the 2004 Athens Games where she threw a then national record of 18.90m in the qualifying round. However, she could not replicate that effort, throwing a best of 18.35m in the final.
Four years later in Beijing, China she failed to move out of the qualifying round, finishing 17th with a best effort of 17.96m.
Borel's probably had her most unforgettable Olympic experience in London four years ago.
She finished 13th overall in the qualifying round, one position outside the top 12 that progressed to the finals, with a throw of 18.36m. However, her position was later upgraded to 12th after gold medallist Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, who top the qualifiers with a 20.76m effort and then won it all with a distance of 21.26m, was stripped of her gold medal and her record expunged for doping.
The Ostapchuk incident meant she effectively denied Borel a legitimate spot in the shot put final in London.
Speaking to ESPN at the Maracan Stadium following her qualification, a very emotional Borel said: "I am so happy. "
She said making it into the finals meant everything.
“I didn't make the finals in Beijing, I didn't make the finals in London and now I worked for four years just to make this finals and I am just so happy I am making a fool of myself. Sorry mom.”
Borel will be in action at 9.00 p.m. tonight (Fri) when she lines up in the shot put final in a bid to crown her career with an Olympic medal.