Cleopatra Borel

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Trinidad And Tobago Trinidad And Tobago
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    10 MAR 1979
Cleopatra Borel (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 19.42 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 08 JUL 2011
Hammer Throw 51.28 Baltimore, MD 05 MAY 2001

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 19.48 Blacksburg, VA 14 FEB 2004

Progression - Outdoor

Shot Put

Performance Place Date
2016 18.78 Birmingham (Alexander), GBR 05 JUN
2015 19.26 Székesfehérvár (Sóstói Stadion) 07 JUL
2014 19.13 Bruxelles (Boudewijnstadion) 05 SEP
2013 17.84 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG
2012 18.82 Rovereto (Stadio Quercia) 04 SEP
2011 19.42 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 08 JUL
2010 19.30 Dubnica nad Váhom 22 AUG
2009 18.52 Rio de Janeiro 17 MAY
2008 18.87 Stockholm (Kungsträdgården) 21 JUL
2007 18.91 Arnhem 13 JUN
2006 18.81 Bacolet 25 JUN
2005 18.44 Knoxville, TN 16 APR
2004 18.90 Olýmpia 18 AUG
2003 17.79 St George's 06 JUL
2002 16.90 Manchester 27 JUL
2001 16.44 Eugene, OR 31 MAY

Hammer Throw

Performance Place Date
2001 51.28 Baltimore, MD 05 MAY

Progression - Indoor

Shot Put

Performance Place Date
2016 18.38 Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR 19 MAR
2013 17.13 Auckland (Waterfront) 02 MAR
2012 18.66 Zürich (Hauptbahnhof) 29 AUG
2011 18.92 Zürich (Hauptbahnhof) 07 SEP
2010 18.80 Blacksburg, VA 06 MAR
2008 18.47 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 09 MAR
2007 18.39 Blacksburg, VA 16 FEB
2006 18.79 Blacksburg, VA 18 FEB
2005 17.30 Blacksburg, VA 12 FEB
2004 19.48 Blacksburg, VA 14 FEB
2002 17.50 Fayetteville, AR 09 MAR
2001 15.83 Blacksburg, VA 24 FEB

Honours - Shot Put

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXXI Olympic Games 7 18.37 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 12 AUG 2016
IAAF World Indoor Championships 4 18.38 Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR 19 MAR 2016
15th IAAF World Championships 12 17.43 Beijing (National Stadium) 22 AUG 2015
2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014 5 18.68 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 14 SEP 2014
14th IAAF World Championships 7q1 17.84 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 5q1 18.36 London (Olympic Stadium) 06 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 13 17.62 Daegu (DS) 29 AUG 2011
13th IAAF World Indoor Championships 11q1 18.31 Doha (Aspire Dome) 13 MAR 2010
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 7q2 17.99 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 16 AUG 2009
6th IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 4 18.50 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 14 SEP 2008
The XXIX Olympic Games 7q2 17.96 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG 2008
12th IAAF World Indoor Championships 7 18.47 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 09 MAR 2008
5th IAAF World Athletics Final 5 18.66 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 23 SEP 2007
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8q2 17.29 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 26 AUG 2007
11th IAAF World Indoor Championships 7 17.59 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 12 MAR 2006
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8q2 17.31 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 12 AUG 2005
2nd IAAF World Athletics Final 7 16.24 Monaco (Stade Louis II) 18 SEP 2004
28th Olympic Games 9 18.35 Olýmpia 18 AUG 2004
10th IAAF World Indoor Championships 7q1 18.19 Budapest (Sportaréna) 05 MAR 2004


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Updated 10 August 2016

 

Cleopatra BOREL, Trinidad and Tobago (Shot Put)

 

Born: 10 March 1979, Mayaro, Trinidad

Lives: Port of Spain, Trinidad

1.72m/89kg

Coach: Ismael Lopez Mastrapa

Manager: Paul Doyle

 

Named after her grandmother, Cleopatra Borel was born on the east coast of Trinidad in the fishing community of Plaisance Village, Mayaro. Mayaro, the Arawak name for the area, is often translated as “the place where the cassava grows.”

Cleopatra and her siblings—elder sister Natasha, little brother Ojai, and the youngest girl, Thandi—grew up with their parents, Betty and the deceased Raymond. Raymond, a high school athlete, was one of the people who encouraged Cleopatra’s early interest in athletics, teaching her and Natasha as much as he knew about the throwing events.

Living some distance from the capital, Port of Spain, the girls had limited exposure to training expertise.

"They tried to start something in my area," Borel recalls, "but it was more of a running club. My teachers encouraged me to compete, but the focus was really on running."

 

Although Cleopatra started out as a runner, and children her age were generally discouraged from doing field events, she knew she was a big girl, and she felt a sense of frustration as she watched the older girls, her sister included, go through field event routines.

"I always felt that I was really strong, and I kind of had the feeling that [shot put] was the event for me,” she says.

 

Cleopatra tells the story of a high school championship meet, for which she was very excited. One of the teachers decided to stage a protest that led to the school withdrawing from the meet. But knowing her love for the sport, her mother took the youngster to watch the second day of the championships. Cleopatra loved it.

It wasn't until she moved to the United States in 1998 that Cleopatra began to realise what she was capable of as an athlete.

"When I went to [Coppin State] University in Maryland, I saw the opportunity to get seriously involved in track and field," she says.

Borel enjoyed the calm, nurturing environment at Coppin, but her coach was retiring so she transferred to University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). There, the Trinidadian met unaccustomed rigour. She had a technique coach and weights coach, and head coach Brian King was expecting to see her win conference and NCAA titles.

 

In March of 2002 she obliged, throwing 17.50m to win the NCAA Indoor Championship. Later that year she just missed a medal at her first major international championship, finishing 4th in the Manchester Commonwealth Games (16.27m, after 16.90m in qualifying).

When she graduated from UMBC, her coach urged her to focus on athletics for two to three years, and she saw that if she worked at it, she could make the next level. Coach King pointed out to her that she could "work for the rest of your life, but you can only make the Olympics once or twice."

That settled it for the girl who had nurtured Olympic dreams even when she was not being allowed to throw with older girls back in Mayaro.

In 2003, Borel collected her first major medal, a silver at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships, in St. George’s, Grenada, where she threw 17.79m.

 

In 2004, focusing on the Olympics, she popped a huge indoor PB in February (19.48m) but couldn’t duplicate the feat a month later at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest, where she failed to qualify for the final (18.19m). Through a busy outdoor season, she was consistently well over 18 metres, and frequently on the podium.

In Greece, surrounded by a Who's Who of Shot Put, Cleopatra admits to feeling somewhat intimidated. At the Olympic Games’ historic shot put venue in Olympia, she threw 18.90m in the qualifying round and looked good for a medal. Once again, however, she couldn’t duplicate the feat in the final (18.35m for 9th).

 

A low-key 2005 was highlighted by another CAC Championship silver medal (18.05m).

Borel, who tries to serve as a role model for young throwers in the region, is enjoying her status as one of the greatest field events competitors ever from the English-speaking Caribbean.

At the regional level, Borel is consistently on the podium. In 2006, she bagged bronze at the CAC Games in Cartagena, Colombia, and followed up in 2007 with NACAC Championship gold and Pan Am Games bronze.

Also in 2006, Borel made up for her near miss four years earlier with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, in Manchester, England.

And in 2008, she turned silver into gold, capturing the CAC Championship title for the first time with an 18.39m throw in Cali, Colombia.

Borel had to settle for third spot at the 2009 CAC Championship meet, in Havana, Cuba. But she bounced back in 2010 with CAC Games gold in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. And in October, when most of the world’s elite athletes had already closed off the season, Borel threw 19.03m to secure Commonwealth silver in Delhi, India.

 

The 2010 season was a turning point in Borel’s career.

The Mayaro thrower produced her 19.48m personal best way back in 2004, but in the five seasons that followed she was unable to return to 19-metre territory. Borel finally hit the mark in August 2010, in London, England. And once the drought had been broken, the flood gates opened. She bettered 19 metres in three more 2010 outings, including the Commonwealth Games.

Borel opened her 2011 campaign with another 19-metre performance, improving her streak to five in a row. There were three other 19-metre meets for Borel that season, including the CAC Championships, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where she struck gold with a 19.00m heave. The Mayaro thrower also earned silver at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

 

At the 2012 Olympic Games, in London, England, Borel was 13th in qualifying with an 18.36m throw, just missing out on the 12-woman final. As it turned out, she was robbed of the opportunity to throw for precious metal. Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of the gold medal after failing a drug test, and Borel was promoted to 12th.

 

The 2013 season was a rough one for Borel. Her father, Raymond was ailing, and he eventually passed away in August. In spite of the challenges, Borel was able to retain her CAC Championship title.

Borel never hit the 18-metre mark in 2013. In stark contrast, she bettered 18.50m in 15 of her 19 2014 outings, including three 19-plus competitions. In July 2014, Borel - who is now based in Trinidad and Tobago where she is coached by Cuban Ismael Lopez Mastrapa - earned her third Commonwealth Games medal, an 18.57m throw securing silver.

“There were days when I felt like I can't possibly throw another shot put, but that's when coach would step in and say something like ‘Let’s go Cleo, you will only die once!’, and laugh. Somehow, that gave me the motivation to keep going.

“I can't overemphasise the role that Mastrapa played in this year's (2014) success. Apart from writing all my work programmes, Mastrapa encourages me to be happy every day, to have fun and enjoy my workout. So this year, I did not wait for a good performance to be happy. I was happy and thankful for every day I was able to train and get better. We worked hard, but the process was a lot of fun.

“Moreover, when things did not go as expected, Mastrapa allowed me to cry and sulk for a moment, then he quickly adjusted the plan, and we had our first 19+ meet of the year. We were like shot put ninjas, making lemonade when necessary.”

 

Borel was particularly pleased with her level of consistency in 2014.

“I am extremely proud of my 2014 season. A full year we have been training. According to my journal, I started September 11, 2013. While I love my job, there were many, many hard days, weeks and months of work that contributed to the success coach and I had this year. I'm extremely thankful that our work paid off.

“This year, I focused even more on my technique. There were training cycles that called for us to throw up to nine times per week. It was not always the 4kg (shot), but we threw a lot of implements this year.”

In September 2014, Borel threw 18.68m to finish fifth at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco.

And then, on November 27, in Mexico, the T&T field star landed a big 18.99m throw to retain her CAC Games title.

During the 2014 season, Borel had said: “It is very important for me to continue to progress - that's shot put talk for throw big.”

 

In the build-up to the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, Borel went past the 19-metre mark twice. The 36-year-old finished fourth at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Paris, France with a 19.07m effort. And three days later, she landed the iron ball 19.26m – her best throw in four years – to strike gold at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial meet, in Hungary.

A couple weeks later, in Toronto, Canada, Borel was crowned Pan American Games champion for the first time. Thanks to her golden throw of 18.67m, the Mayaro powerhouse now has a complete set of medals at the hemispheric Games – 2007 bronze, 2011 silver, and 2015 gold.

Borel is also a multi-medallist at the CAC and Commonwealth levels, but has not yet achieved a top-three finish at a major global meet.

The affable field athlete was solid in the qualifying competition at the Beijing Worlds, throwing 18.55m for sixth spot. However, she sustained a finger injury while warming up for the final, and finished 12th and last with a 17.43m effort.

At the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon, USA, Borel was one spot short of the podium. She threw 18.38m to finish fourth.

At 37, Borel goes into her fourth Olympic Games as an experienced veteran. Rio 2016 is likely to be her final outing on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

“I think this is going to be my best Olympics ever. If I did not have the hardships and difficulty that I had in my career, I wouldn’t be here today. If I had made it into the finals at London, and finished in a place where I was satisfied, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I’d be somewhere else.

“I realise,” Borel continues, “that I learn and I grow from my so-called failures. You just have to embrace the way things come to you and the journey that you go through in life.”

 

Personal Best

Shot Put: 19.48 metres (2004)

 

Yearly Progression

Shot Put: 2000: 14.64i; 2001: 16.44; 2002: 16.90, 17.50i; 2003: 17.79; 2004: 18.90, 19.48i; 2005: 18.44; 2006: 18.81; 2007: 18.91; 2008: 18.87; 2009: 18.52; 2010: 19.30; 2011: 19.42; 2012: 18.82; 2013: 17.84; 2014: 19.13; 2015: 19.26; 2016: 18.78

 

Career Highlights

2002   4th     Commonwealth Games (Manchester)                    16.27

2002   2nd    NACAC** Under-25 Champs (San Antonio)            16.46

2003   2nd    CAC* Championships (St George’s)                       17.79

2003  6th     Pan Am Games (Santo Domingo)                           17.23

2004   10th   Olympic Games (Olympia)                                   18.35                         

2004   8th     World Athletics Final (Monaco)                              16.24

2005   2nd     CAC* Championships (Nassau)                            18.05

2006   8th     World Indoor Championships (Moscow)                 17.59

2006   3rd     Commonwealth Games (Melbourne)                     17.87

2006   3rd     CAC* Games (Cartagena)                                    18.33   

2007   1st     NACAC** Championships (San Salvador)              17.53

2007   3rd     Pan Am Games (Rio de Janeiro)                           18.22

2007   5th     World Athletics Final (Stuttgart)                           18.66

2008   7th     World Indoor Championships (Valencia)                18.47

2008   1st     CAC* Championships (Cali)                                 18.39A

2008   4th     World Athletics Final (Stuttgart)                          18.50

2009   3rd     CAC* Championships (Havana)                           17.98

2010   1st     CAC* Games (Mayaguez)                                    18.76

2010   2nd    Commonwealth Games (Delhi)                            19.03

2011   1st     CAC* Championships (Mayaguez)                         19.00             

2011   13th   World Championships (Daegu)                             17.62

2011   2nd    Pan Am Games (Guadalajara)                              18.46A

2012   12q   Olympic Games (London)                                      18.36

2013   1st     CAC* Championships (Morelia)                             17.56A

2014   2nd    Commonwealth Games (Glasgow)                         18.57

2014   5th        IAAF Continental Cup (Marrakech)                      18.68

2014   1st        CAC* Games (Xalapa)                                      18.99A

2015   1st        Pan Am Games (Toronto)                                  18.67

2015   12th     World Championships (Beijing)                            17.43

2016   4th        World Indoor Championships (Portland)             18.38  

 

* CAC = Central American & Caribbean

**NACAC = North America, Central America & Caribbean

 

Prepared by Kwame Laurence and Terry Finisterre for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2006-2016