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Borel's medal bid halted by freak injury

Achieving her best-ever IAAF World Championship finish was no consolation for Cleopatra Borel as a freak injury put paid to her chances of earning a top-eight spot and a shot at a medal, at the Bird's Nest Stadium here in Beijing, China, yesterday.

Competing at the World Championships for the sixth time, Borel was 12th in the women's shot put final, improving on her previous best finish—13th in the 2011 final in Daegu, Korea.

Severely hampered by a finger injury, sustained while warming up for her medal bid, Borel was very flat and could only manage a 17.43 metres effort.

“I hurt my finger warming up and that was it,” a bitterly disappointed Borel told the Sunday Express. “Something happened and it separated my fingers. It was just kind of a freak thing. I was doing what I always do and the shot just came out my hand bad. I couldn't throw after that.

“It's something that's happened before,” the Trinidad and Tobago athlete explained. “In the past it was just on this portion of my finger, but now I feel pain in the middle of my hand so hopefully it's nothing too serious.”

Borel produced the 17.43m throw in round one. Very unhappy with her next effort, the 2015 Pan American Games champion deliberately stepped on the stop board for a foul. And in round three, she landed the shot just 16.85m, ensuring early elimination from the final.

Germany's Christina Schwanitz grabbed gold with a 20.37m throw. Lijiao Gong (20.30m) earned silver for the host nation, while bronze went to American Michelle Carter (19.76m).

Borel went into the World Championships in fourth spot on the 2015 world outdoor performance list at 19.26m.

“I've had so many good meets this year, and when it counted the most it felt like my body let me down, so it's tough,” said the 36-year-old thrower, fighting back the emotions on a day that promised much but delivered little.

At the end of yesterday's qualifying competition, Borel was in buoyant mood. She had thrown 18.55m to secure an automatic berth in the final, the quality effort earning her sixth spot.

Borel had an ordinary start in the qualifying event, throwing the iron ball 17.01m.

“I don't even know what happened there. I was trying to not rush and not be stressed, and I was just so slow and deliberate and not like myself, so I had to remember to go after it.”

And that she did in round two. Following a chat with her coach, Ismael Lopez Mastrapa, Borel went well past the 18.30m automatic qualifying mark. The 18.55m effort was a big confidence booster ahead of the final.

“You know my history with qualifying. I had to work extremely hard to have that kind of throw under my belt when necessary, so I'm really really happy that I can do it for myself and for my coach and for the whole team…start things right for the team, and come back this afternoon and hopefully do well again.”

Unfortunately, the freak warm-up injury scuppered Borel's plans.