media_artricles :: 2016
Borel ends on personal highKwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 14.08.2016
Saving the best for last, Trinidad and Tobago's Cleopatra Borel celebrated her Olympic swansong with her highest-ever placing on the world's biggest sporting stage.
A finalist in the women's shot put at the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday night, Borel took a Carnival-style jump-up to the beat of drums during her introduction ahead of the competition.
"When we hear music," Borel told the Sunday Express, "we have to move. But also, in our sessions with (sports psychologist) Dr Margaret Ottley, she was telling us to dance and relax, so I said hey, there's some music. Let me try to dance and relax. It helps with my nerves. It helps me get centred. I always have to keep in my mind this is what I love doing and I want to be here. I wasn't nervous. I was happy and focused and trying to do my best. I really enjoyed the meet."
Borel threw 18.37 metres to secure seventh spot, bettering her previous best ninth on Olympic debut in Athens, Greece, back in 2004.
"I'm happy. My best outdoor finish ever."
Borel was seventh after three throws, thanks to an 18.24m effort in round two. For the first time in four Olympic outings, she progressed to the "Big 8", earning three more throws. She improved to 18.37 in round five and then fouled her last throw, closing off her final Olympic campaign before announcing that retirement was also a real possibility.
"That might have been my last throw. I don't know. If I wake up Monday and I'm able to train, then we'll keep going. But if I can't…"
Borel is certain about one thing. She will not compete in a fifth Olympic Games.
"It is the last. This kind of anxiety is not good for somebody of my age," she said with a hearty laugh, following the qualifying competition, earlier in the day. "I'll go as an official, I'll go as a coach, I'll go as a manager. Physically, emotionally, it's a lot. This is it, Kwame. Enjoy tonight. This is it. And I feel great knowing that. Not one second thought. It's not easy. It's a lifestyle and a commitment for four years, and that's pretty tough for me to do again."
American Michelle Carter struck gold with a national record throw of 20.63m in the sixth and final round, forcing New Zealand's defending champion Valerie Adams to settle for silver at 20.42. Anita Marton also produced a national record, the Hungarian bagging bronze with her 19.87m effort.
Cleo's emotional interview with ESPN Caribbean reporter Felix Sanchez
"I was surprised that Valerie didn't take it," said Borel, "but I was not surprised that Michelle came through in the end. She has done that at World Indoors, and she's very good on her last throw. I'm a little surprised Val didn't pass her at the end. But you can't count Michelle out until her very last throw."
Borel is hopeful that her last Olympic appearance will not lead to a T&T "no-show" in the women's shot put at major global meets.
"We have a lot of talent. Portious Warren, Cherisse Murray, Chelsea James, and we have young Miss Ianna Roach coming up. We now have to do what is necessary to develop that talent, giving them what I didn't have so they can rise higher than I ever did."
Borel said she sees herself playing a developmental role in her event, not only at home but in the wider region as well.
"I think we have a lot of untapped talent in the Caribbean. Myself and other throwers, we need to grow the region. I would love to coach the shot put. I definitely want to begin specifically with female gliders, and we'll see where it goes from there. I would like to pass on the knowledge that I've gained from so many years of competing."
Wearing a broad smile at the end of her 12-year Olympic journey, Borel expressed deep gratitude.
"I just want to say thank you to everybody. I'm a real Trini girl. I love Trinidad and Tobago. It's my home and I get so much support, so thanks so much to everyone."
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Trinidad and Tobago's Cleopatra Borel gestures during the Women's shot put final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeir, Brazil, Friday. Photo: AFP