Few celebrations this season have rocked quite like Cleopatra Borel’s lengthy scream of ecstasy after throwing 19.04m to finish third in the New York Diamond League last month. The Trinidadian shot putter gives us five good reasons why she greeted the throw with such unadulterated joy.
Last year was a bit of a wash out for the two-time Commonwealth shot medallist. She struggled with injury, competed just seven times and her modest season’s best of 17.84m way off her PB of 19.48m.
To top it off, she no-marked in her one and only Diamond League appearance in Shanghai and failed to advance to the final at the Moscow World Championships. “I believed I would struggle to ever get back to throwing over 19m,” says the 35-year-old.
2. Pressure cooker
“New York was my first Diamond League meet of the year. I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver a good performance and on my first throw I was super nervous.
“My second throw was a good throw, but I fell out of the front of the circle. After I foul, I tend to hold back. But this time I felt like I was brave enough to go for it.”
3. A friend indeed
Candace Shirley, a good pal and former athlete Borel coached at Morgan State University, had driven to the meet from Baltimore. Borel admits that immediately following her third round effort of 19.04m “I screamed!
“I then could then hear Candace screaming in the crowd and that made me scream some more. She also knew the pressure I was under.”
Borel's has clearly learnt her celebrations from the best
4. Taking a gamble
Borel had an added incentive to throw far in New York: Her coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa – the man who guided Keshorn Walcott to London 2012 Olympic javelin gold – offered the motivation of paying for dinner if she threw beyond 18.60m. Fail to achieve that aim and she would be forced to stump up.
“I don’t like to cook, so once I was over that distance I knew I’d won the bet,” she says.
She has since taken Mastrapa up on his bet and had a lunch (not dinner) of callaloo with chicken and macaroni pie.
5. She’s a serial…
Our favourite Trinidadian shot putter has previous – she loves to celebrate. When attaining the qualification distance for the 2004 Athens Olympic with a throw of 19.48m, it made for an interesting reaction in the ever-smiling Caribbean thrower.
“I bounced on my butt and pounded it up and down on the ground and started screaming,” she explains. And there’s more.
“When I qualified for the finals in Daegu [at the 2011 World Championships] with my last throw, I almost ran into a distance race,” she admits. “The officials had to stop me from stepping on the track. I’m not afraid to embarrass myself.”
She's in action tonight at the Diamond League in Lausanne, so we’re hoping for more far throws and reasons to celebrate!