Avinash Sable qualifies for Tokyo Olympics, sets new national record again

NEW DELHI : Avinash Sable ran a race of his own to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year in the 3000-metre steeplechase event in the final of the Athletics World Championship in Doha on Friday. He also set a new national record with his time of 8.21.37. This is the fourth time he has set a new national record in the 3000m steeplechase event over the course of the last year, a record which had remained undisturbed since 1981.

Sable’s time of 8.21.37 was good enough to get him a 13th place finish in the Worlds final on Friday. Sable had said before the final that his aim would be to reach the Olympic cut-off – which has been set at 8.22.00 – and that attempting a medal place in the final would be too steep an aim.

Sable, an Indian Army havildar, who has served in Siachen and Rajasthan previously, has had a dramatic improvement in his times since June last year. In June 2018, at the Inter-State Championships in Guwahati, he recorded a timing of 8:49.25. This year, he has brought it down to 8:28.94 (at the Fed Cup in March), 8:25.33 (in the heats of the Worlds) and 8:21.37 (in the Worlds final) in successive races.