Meteoric rise of Avinash Sable in Federation Cup

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Avinash Sable broke his own national record in the 300m steeplechase with a timing of 8:28.94 seconds, shaving off nearly a second on his previous national record of 8:29.80s.

Avinash Sable broke his own national record to qualify for the World Championships

Avinash Sable broke his own national record to qualify for the World Championships (AFI Photo)

Improving his national record with a timing of 8:28.94 seconds in 300m steeplechase, Avinash Sable was in a class of his own at the Federation Cup in Patiala on Monday. The performance confirmed his spot in the Asian Championship and World Championship as well.

Shaving off nearly a second on his previous national record of 8:29.80s, Avinash showed he is a much improved runner than he was six months back when he smashed 36-year-old record set in the event by Gopal Saini at the 1981 Asian Championship in Tokyo.

The 24-year-old army man explained how he devised his strategy for the race using a pacemaker as he aimed double qualification from the beginning. A pacemaker is usually a guy who sets pace at the beginning of a race.

“Since my aim was to qualify for the World C’ships I knew a race pace was necessary,” Avinash told Mail Today. “That’s why I stayed behind a pacemaker for the first kilometre and then I took things in my own hands from thereon.”

The Maharashtra runner – who currently trains with coach Amrish Kumar in Ooty in the company of other long-distance running stars like Jinson Johnson, Manjit Singh and Sudha Singh, said his eyes are now set on the Asian Championship glory – slated in Doha next month.

However, his task out there will be cut out by Iran’s the reigning Asian Champion Hossein Keyhani. The Asian gold medallist was in a class of his own in Jakarta when he left his closest competitor six seconds behind with a Games record timing of 8.22.79.

Unperturbed by the challenge, Avinash said the Iranian is vital for his Olympic qualification ambition.

“His ability to pace in the final lap is impeccable. I intend to stay behind him in the race and will look to capitalise at the final stretch. Beating him will give me a major boost to qualify for the Olympics (whose qualification timing is set at 8:22.00),” said a confident Avinash, who serves as a Hawaldar in Army.

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