Steeplechaser Avinash Sable aiming for significant improvement ahead of Olympics

The national record in 3000m steeplechase believes that the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha gave him an idea on how to prepare for big competitions.

By Naveen Peter

India went in hope, not expectation, to last year's World Athletics Championships in Doha. After all, their superstar javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was still recuperating from an elbow injury.

But the Indian 4x400m mixed relay quartet and steeplechaser Avinash Sable came up with inspired performances to not only make it to the final of their respective events but also seal their ticket for the Tokyo Olympics.

But despite having made the qualifying mark for Tokyo 2020 in the final, as well as finishing in a respectful 13th place finish in the 3000m steeplechase, Sable continues to strive for gains on a daily basis.

Photo: Instagram/Avinash Sable.

“I think the Doha experience helped me understand what I need to do when I have to compete in the heats and in the final a couple of days later,” the Indian steeplechaser told the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

“A few weeks later, I had a similar experience in the World Military Games in Wuhan, China where I did not finish the final after being injured. That’s something I want to improve on, running two top-quality races in three days.” 

Having proven his calibre by breaking a 37-year-old national record in 2018 and bettering his own mark last year, Avinash Sable realises that he can push further in the event.

But Sable’s exposure to top-quality fields at various international events has shown that the man from the drought-hit Beed region of Maharashtra needs to do a lot of work before he can challenge the best in the world. 

And with the Tokyo Games being pushed by a year, Avinash Sable is focused on doing just that.

“When I went to train in Rabat, Morocco in January this year, I had only a few months left to make an improvement (before the Olympics). But now there’s more time. And I intend to make the most of it,” he said.

“Now I have come around to thinking that it’s for the best and that I can sharpen my skills and aim for significant improvement in my time. After a short offseason, I am back in training in Ooty now. I have to plan and prepare well for Tokyo.

“I know I can do much better at the Olympics. I may need to clock time between 8:15 and 8:20 to make it to the final, depending on the pace of the race,” added the Indian who will be shuttling between Ooty and Bengaluru for his training in the coming months.