The Big Picture

Athlete makes a big splash

Most athletes who compete in a big meet hope to make a splash.

But Panama's Rolanda Bell got more than she bargained for when she fell headlong into a water jump at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing on Monday.

She was taking part in the women's 3,000m steeplechase, an obstacle race which features 28 hurdles and seven dreaded water jumps.

According to former US record holder, Ann Gaffigan, everyone falls.

That lot fell to the 27-year-old Bell, ranked 104th in the world, who misjudged the jump in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium and found herself diving into, rather than leaping over, the water.

Fortunately, she was unhurt and managed to pick herself up and continue the race, although she finished in 10min 33.78sec, well over her personal best time of 9min 47.16sec.

Not surprisingly, she failed to qualify for the 16-woman final, which takes place today, placing 42nd in the 45-strong field.

Despite her embarrassment, with the photo and story making the rounds worldwide, Bell graciously thanked her fans after the race, tweeting: "Thanks to Panama for all the support of our team this year."

The 15th edition of the biennial World Championships began last Saturday and ends this Sunday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Athlete makes a big splash'. Print Edition | Subscribe