Sable's steeplechase drama at World Championships

The Indian athlete reaches the final and sets a new national best - but only after an incident filled race.

India’s Avinash Sable produced a splendid run on his debut to overcome two falls and clock a national record time of 8:25.23 to qualify for the final of the men’s 3000m steeplechase at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The 25-year-old showed great composure to recover after being impeded twice to better the national mark of 8:28.94 that he had set at the Federation Cup early this year.

Though his timing could fetch him only a seventh place in the heats, a successful appeal by the Indian contingent for obstruction saw him being included in the final on October 4.

Otmane Nait Hammou of the Athlete Refugee Team and Ethiopia’s Takele Nigate fall during the 3000m steeplechase heats.
Otmane Nait Hammou of the Athlete Refugee Team and Ethiopia’s Takele Nigate fall during the 3000m steeplechase heats.Otmane Nait Hammou of the Athlete Refugee Team and Ethiopia’s Takele Nigate fall during the 3000m steeplechase heats.

Calculated run

Grouped in the third heat alongside the reigning Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto (Kenya) and a host of other big-ticket names, Sable stuck to his gameplan as he reserved his energy initially before pushing ahead in the final three laps to join the leading pack.

While Kipruto and his compatriot Benjamin Kigen along with Hillary Bor of the USA exchanged the lead often before Kipruto surged ahead for the win, Sable ensured that he made the most of his maiden World Championships.

By the time he crossed the line, the Indian had been involved in two dramatic incidents.

Firstly a tangle of runners in front of him saw Sable having to clamber over Takele Nigate of Ethiopia in order to keep on running.

Then, midway through the race, the unfortunate Nigate slipped right in front of the water jump and thus blocked Sable's path too.

The Indian's momentum was totally stopped as he had to lift his legs over the obstacle from a standing start.

There was nothing Sable could do about either incident, with the Athletics Federation of India appealing that he was blocked.

Their plea to the IAAF was successful, leading to Sable being included as the sixteenth entrant for the final.

Commendable show

Later in the evening, Annu Rani, who on Monday became the first India woman to enter the javelin final at the Worlds, finished a creditable eighth in the final.

The Indian javelin ace managed a distance of 61.12 metres in her second attempt while Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber took the gold with a huge 66.56 metres throw in her final attempt.

China’s Shiying Liu won the silver with her season-best throw of 65.88 metres while her compatriot Huihui Lyu, the thrower with the world-leading distance this season, took the bronze with a throw of 65.49 metres.

Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber celebrates winning the javelin throw final.
Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber celebrates winning the javelin throw final.Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber celebrates winning the javelin throw final.

Rani was slow to start as she managed a 59.25 metres throw in her first attempts while the two Chinese went on to lay down the mark with throws close to 64 metres. 

The Indian, however, was quick to catch up as she followed with throws of 61.12 metres and 60.20 metres in her following two attempts to make the cut for the additional three throws. 

The three throws, however, barely made a difference in her quest as she managed 60.40 metres, 58.49 metres and 57.93 metres respectively to end her campaign with a satisfactory show.

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