Tokyo calling as Avinash Sable seals Olympics berth

The 25-year-old also registered a new national record – his second in three days.

By Swapnil Bhopatkar

Days after becoming the first Indian man to qualify for the 3000m steeplechase final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships, India’s Avinash Sable registered a new national record by clocking 8:21.37 to finish 13th in the final of the ongoing event in Doha, Qatar.

The Asian Athletics Championships silver medallist had clocked a national record time of 8:25.23 to qualify for the final and has now gone under the qualifying cutoff time of 8:22.00 to ensure he will be on the start line at Tokyo 2020.

Just like his qualifying run on October 1, Sable got off to a slow start and soon found himself at the back of the batch whilst Ethiopia were dominating, with Getnet Wale and Lamecha Girma battling for the lead.

New World Record

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali raced ahead of the Ethiopians early on the final lap, but Girma reacted quickly.

However, it was reigning Olympic and World Champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya who showed his class in the final metres to emerge with a new world record timing of 8:01.35, while Girma finished second; just a single hundredth of a second off of Kipruto’s clock (8:01.36). El Bakkali rounded off the podium with a third-place finish by clocking 8:03.76.

The Olympic dream

Sable's progress has been little short of remarkable.

The army man from Maharashtra has continually impressed with his performances in the last couple of years, setting no less than four national records.

Now he has advanced to the biggest stage of them all - earning the chance to represent his country at an Olympic Games.

Race Walk results

India’s KT Irfan (back) finished in 27th place at the IAAF World Athletics Championships

KT Irfan

KT Irfan finished 27th out of a 52-man field in the 20km race walk at the World Championships in Doha.

The race began at 11.30 pm local time to avoid the worst excesses of heat and humidity, with Irfan clocking a time of one hour 35 minutes and 21 seconds.

Irfan was the first Indian to qualify for Tokyo 2020 after going under the qualifying time earlier this year at the Asian Race Walking Championships.

Devender Singh came home in 36th place with a time of 1:41:48.

It was joy for Japan at the World Championships as 23-year-old Toshikazu Yamanishi finished in first place with a timing of 1:26:34 after he found the ascendency from the 7-8km mark and never let go of the lead. Authorised neutral athlete Vasily Mizinov and Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom rounded off the podium.


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