Sable and a new era for Indian athletics


India finished with eight medals, including an incredible gold and silver for Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker in the triple jump. These medals are a sign of India’s rising assurance in sports at the international level.

Distance runners are a lonely breed. The grue-lling hours of training often go unrewarded with medals or records through their entire careers. Yet, the challenge to surmount the odds draws the really tough. Avinash Sable showed on Friday that he is very much India’s man of steel with a 3000m steeplechase run for the ages at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The 27-year-old produced a brilliantly judged race and a stunning finishing burst to claim the silver, arguably the most significant medal won by India at these Games. Sable not just broke the national record for the ninth straight time since he began chipping away at the time in September 2018, he also made the athletics world take note by ending the hegemony of Kenya in the event. Sable’s heroics come as India mark its presence on track and field with a clutch of medals. His was the fourth at Birmingham, and this was despite the absence of Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra. India finished with eight medals, including an incredible gold and silver for Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker in the triple jump. These medals are a sign of India’s rising assurance in sports at the international level.

Sable’s performance is remarkable in that the athlete is from Maharashtra’s arid Beed. If life wasn’t harsh growing up, Sable toughened up as an Army man posted in the sub-zero conditions of Siachen and the heat of Rajasthan. Roped in for steeplechase training by Army coach Amrish Kumar, it was only after failing to qualify for the final at the Tokyo Olympics that he agreed to train abroad. Training at high altitudes in the United States allowed Sable to rub shoulders with other world-class athletes. In that sense, breaking through to split the Kenyans at Birmingham feels like it’s only the start.


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