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Belarus, New Zealand to vie for women's shot put title
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World champion Valerie Vili of New Zealand and Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, who achieved the season's best performance, are expected to vie for the Olympic women's shot put title.

Ostapchuk has an extraordinary year, putting the shot over the 20-meter mark four times, including a world-leading best of 20.98 meters.

The Belarus finished fourth with a best attempt of 19.01 meters in the Athens Olympic Games four years ago. World champion in 2005, she was defeated by Vili by six centimeters at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

Reigning world indoor and outdoor champion, Vili poses a real threat to Ostapchuk. The two have only met once this year, at the 2008 world indoor championships.

Vili opted to stay close to home to complete most of her Beijing Olympic preparations and has limited opportunities to test herself against her European rivals.

Another two Belarusians Yanina Pravalinskay-Karolchyk and Natallia Mikhnevich are also very strong.

Chinese favorite Li Meiju was qualified to the finals Saturday evening with her first attempt of 19.18 meters.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2008)

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