Olympic shot-putter Raven Saunders of Charleston is set to make her professional track and field debut this weekend in Shanghai.
Saunders, who announced last month that she was turning pro, will compete for the first time on the IAAF Diamond League circuit, with the women's shot put set for Saturday.
Saunders, a Burke High School graduate, won four NCAA titles at Southern Illinois and Ole Miss before turning pro. She qualified for Team USA in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she finished fifth.
Saunders owns two of the top three throws in the world this year. She threw a world-leading 19.56 meters at a college meet at Auburn last month, and followed that up at LSU with a 19.51-meter effort, which ranks No. 3 this year.
Other top throwers entered at Shanghai include New Zealand's two-time Olympic champ, Valerie Adams; China's world champion, Lijiao Gong; Hungary's world indoor champion, Anita Marton; Jamaica's Danniel Thomas-Dodd; and fellow American Dani Hill.
The Diamond League is a top-level pro circuit for track and field, with 14 stops around the world including Shanghai, Rome, Paris and London. The circuit comes to the U.S. on May 26 in Eugene, Oregon.
As a pro, Saunders still is eligible to represent the U.S. in the Olympic Games.