Charlotte Bolton made her Paralympic debut, at only 18 years of age, on Friday morning at the women’s shot put F41 event.
The native of Tillsonburg, Ont. had a rough start in the competition, which was held in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, with her first two attempts considered not valid.
Being a first timer in a major sporting event could have been the reason behind her initial nerves, although she never lost her concentration. On her third try she got a throw of 8.08m, and moved forward in every subsequent turn, until reaching her best mark in her final attempt with a distance of 8.73m.
Despite this being a good enough throw to put her in sixth place, it’s a far cry from her personal best of 9.05m, which is also the Canadian record in this discipline.
The Paralympics are very big,” said Bolton after her participation. “It’s a little overwhelming. Overall, it went well, I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I’m glad that I was able to pull it together.”
Reaching or surpassing that mark would have earned her a place in the top five, although it would still not have been enough to secure a place on the podium.
Canada’s rivals in the event included Parapan medalists Mayerli Buitrago Arizo (Colombia) and Antonella Ruiz Diaz (Argentina), as well as Raoua Tlili from Tunisia, who maintained her 100 per cent record of winning gold at every Paralympics in which she has participated, while also setting a new world record.
This was certainly a good opportunity for Bolton to compare her skill level with the most experienced shot putters around the globe, especially considering that her initial plan was to attempt a spot in Paris 2024, but the Games getting delayed allowed her to enter this edition’s roster for Team Canada.
The Canadian athlete is now focusing on her next task at the Japanese capital: discus throw F41.
“Now that I’ve shaken the nerves out, I’m going to go back, do some discus training,” said the Paralympian. “Hopefully pop out some new personal bests.”