Six-time U.S. shot put champion Michelle Carter finally found the podium at the World Championships. After finishing fourth in Moscow two years ago, ninth in Daegu in 2011, and sixth in Berlin in 2009, Carter won the bronze medal Saturday at National Stadium in Beijing for the Americans’ first medal of the event, throwing 19.76 meters. Defending silver medalist Christina Schwanitz of Germany won the gold medal at 20.37 meters. Carter was 15th in the Bird’s Nest at the 2008 Olympics and was the 2004 world junior champion. Her 19.22 was second after qualifying to Schwanitz (19.39).
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Carter said. “It’s great to finally get there, even if you have to take it one step at a time. As long as you’re making progress, it’s always a great thing.”
China’s Gong Lijiao, who won bronze in both the London Olympics and Moscow Worlds, took silver with an opening throw of 20.30. Her second toss of 20.05 was also the highest in the second round, until Schwanitz eclipsed her in the third. Anita Marton of Hungary was fourth with a national record (19.48), and China’s Gao Yang fifth with a personal best 19.04. American Jeneva Stevens, who threw the hammer throw at Moscow in 2013, placed 10th at 17.84 meters, and Pan-American Games champion Cleopatra Borel of Trinidad and Tobago was 12th (17.43).
London Olympian Tia Brooks of the United States threw 17.71 earlier in the day and did not qualify for the final. The event was missing four-time defending champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand, who is recovering from surgery.
HEPTATHLON FIRST DAY
Britons Jessica Ennis-Hill (4,005 points) and Katarina Johnson-Thompson (3,925) hold the top two places following the first day of the heptathlon, with Nadine Visser of the Netherlands in third (3,871) and Canadian Brianne Theisen-Eaton fourth (3,865). Sharon Day-Monroe is the top American in 10th place with 3,736 points
“If i can get a good long jump,” Day Monroe said of her strategy for the second day. “I’m really excited for javelin because it’s been going well in practice.”
Erica Bougard of the United States is in 20th place with 3,662 points. She was doing well with a 13.28 100-meter hurdles, 1.83 high jump and 24.41 200 meters, but an 11.40 shot put was her downfall.
“It feels great, I’m glad I made it, I just wish I could have done better for my country,” Bougard said of the experience.
Barbara Nwaba of the U.S. did not finish the 100 hurdles, but posted the fifth highest shot put (14.64). She is in 30th place.
“It was a rough start to my first Worlds,” the 26-year-old Nwaba said. “It was difficult to adjust to the setting, the stadium is amazing, I thought it would bring me more energy than nervousness. Now I’m embracing it, enjoying the moment and letting it sink in.”
The event continues Sunday with the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
ALSO OF NOTE SATURDAY
In the preliminaries of the men’s 100 meters, Rodman Teltull (10.71) and Tashi Dendup (12.15) set national records for Palau and Bhutan. Yasmani Copello notched a 48.89 national record for Turkey in the men’s 400-meter hurdles.