India's star middle-distance runner and Olympian Avinash Sable began his 2022 campaign in style by improving men’s 3000m steeplechase national record. Sable achieved this feat in the second leg of the Indian Grand Prix in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
According to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Sable’s gold-medal winning time of 8:16:21 was better than his previous record of 8:18:12, set last year at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Avinash Sable, the 2019 Asian Championship silver medalist, gave his best during the preliminary round at the 2020 Olympic Games last year, but narrowly missed out on qualifying for the medal round.
Representing his state Maharashtra in the one-day domestic meet in Kerala on Wednesday, Avinash Sable didn’t face much of a challenge from any of his rivals. Sable’s nearest competitor, Haryana’s Shankar Lal Swami, finished the race in a time of 8:36:37. Rajasthan’s Atul Poonia came a distant third with a timing of 8:53:15 seconds.
Other events and winners
The women’s 3000m steeplechase also went along expected lines as Parul Choudhary of Uttar Pradesh comfortably won the gold, with a timing of 9:38:39.
The 3000m steeplechase events were one-sided affairs in both men and women’s categories, but there were enough fireworks in the women’s 400m race.
Karnataka’s promising teenage sprinter Priya H Mohan battled it out with veteran MR Poovamma for the 400m title. Priya crossed the finish line in 52.37 seconds to edge past Poovamma, whose time was 52.44 seconds. Kerala’s Jisna Mathew was third, with 53.40 seconds.
The performances in the field events were modest. Spotlight was on Tokyo Olympian and national record holder in women’s discus throw Kamalpreet Kaur. The Punjab discus thrower won gold with a throw of 61.39m, which was far short of her personal best of 66.59m set last year.
Tejinderpal Singh Toor, the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games champion, pulled out of the men’s shot put event as he is still recovering from the jet-lag caused due to returning from the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. In the absence of the burly Punjab thrower, Uttarakhand’s Aniket won gold with a throw of 17.43m.
Performances in other track and field events were also not memorable. The next stop for Indian athletes is the 25th Senior Federation Cup scheduled to be held in Kozhikode from April 2. With the Asian and Commonwealth Games set to take place later this year, it's high time the athletes pulled their socks up.