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Women’s SHOT PUT - Qualification REPORT

Nine automatic qualifiers (18.50 was required) and three of the best from the rest of this morning's 38 women’s Shot Put contestants made their way to tonight’s final (1600hrs) of 12 competitors in the Ancient Stadium of Olympia.

The women had a luckier deal than the men who threw later this morning because when Kristin Heaston of the USA in Group B of two qualification pools began the overall qualification event - more of that historic moment, later today at www.iaaf.org - the temperatures in Olympia were still relatively cool.

Heaston was not to factor in the battle to get to the final (22nd best 17.17) but five other athletes from her group did proceed. Of these, automatically qualifying were three athletes Belarussian Nadezhda Ostapchuk, Cleopatra Borel of Trinidad, and Russia’s World champion Svetlana Krivelyova.

Ostapchuk, the 2003 World Championships silver medallist put in a decent first round effort of 19.69, a significant improvement to her season’s best (previously 19.37; her PB is 20.12 outdoors/ 21.52 indoors) to overall lead the qualifiers from both pools.

It was only a ‘decent’ effort because the level of the competition did not do justice to atmosphere created by the capacity 15,000 crowd which were massed on the grassy banked sides of the ancient Stadium, in which the two throwing circles were situated.

Borel’s 18.90 qualifier with her first attempt was significant because of the national record that it brought with it rather than being a top world class put. That said it was enough to top Krivelyova’s 18.57, by which she scraped over the automatic mark with her third and final throw. The Russian as well as taking last year’s World crown in Paris, was the 1992 Olympic champion in Barcelona.

Also passing to the final from this Pool were the Netherlands' Lieja Tunks (18.38) and China’s Meiju Li (18.16). The Chinese athlete was the 12th and final qualifier overall.

Group A had six automatic qualifiers and one other thrower who made it safely through the qualification stage.

Leading these seven was Russia’s Irina Korzhanenko, the European champion, with a 19.43 first round effort. The 30 year-old along with Krivelyova and the Belarussian Natalya Kharaneko are the only women to have gone over 20 metres this year, and Kharaneko also had little difficulty joing her in the final today, qualifying with her second attempt of 18.52.

Impressive were also the minor World Indoor championship medallists Yumileidi Cumba of Cuba (19.10) and Germany’s Nadine Kleinert (18.65), as well as New Zealand’s former World Youth champion Valerie Adams (18.79), who all passed through to the final with their first attempts.

The other automatic qualifier was Poland’s Krystyna Kabawska (18.61), with Misleydis Gonzalez joining compatriot Cumba in the final, as the eleventh of the twelve qualifiers.

The most notable non-qualifier was Germany's Astrid Kumbernuss (17.89), the 1996 Olympic champion and former three time World gold medallist.


NOTE. no media facilities or other technology have been installed at the competition area in the Ancient Olympic Stadium as it is a protected heritage site, and consequently the publication of Event Reports today will be slower than will be the case in the main Olympic stadium in Athens. Your patience is appreciated.