Avinash Sable wins Sportstar Aces 2020 Sportsman of the Year in athletics

Steeplechase runner Avinash Sable capped a record-breaking 2019 by bagging the Sportsman of the Year in athletics at the Sportstar Aces Awards on Monday.

Avinash Sable won silver at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.

Shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor may have won the Asian Championship gold in Doha last year — he was the only Indian male to do so too — but Avinash Sable has something that almost all Indian athletes have been desperately hunting for, since May 1 last year.

The 3,000m steeple chaser has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and he achieved that at the World Championships final last October in Doha where he finished 13th in 8:21.37s (qualification time 8:22.00).

Avinash broke his own national record while clocking that time and it was the third occasion he was breaking the national record in the space of a year. In fact, he has made it a habit of breaking national records in the event. That probably impressed the jury which gave the Sportstar Aces best male athlete award in track and field to Avinash.

The 3,000m steeple chase national record had been a huge mental block for many for long. Gopal Saini’s record had stood for 37 years till Avinash came along and broke it with a time of 8:29.80s in September 2018. In about a year after that, the Armyman stunningly bettered his national record by around eight seconds.

Avinash won the silver at last year’s Doha Asian Championship and, incidentally, it was his first major international competition.

And now that he has already made the cut for the Olympics, one can expect him to break the national record again this year.

“I will give my best for the country in this Olympic year,” said the 25-year-old.

After receiving the award, he said: “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Sportstar for giving players such a platform and honouring them. I would like to thank the Indian army for helping me reach where I am today. I was a regular officer there. But they really helped me in beginning my journey.”

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand, The Hindu Publishing Group chairman N. Ram, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat selected the deserving winners in categories involving young athletes, teams, coaches and parathletes.

The awards look to create a medium of knowledge and vision exchange as it brings all stakeholders of Indian sports under one roof.

You can watch the Sportstar Aces Awards telecast on Sony Ten 1 SD & HD on Sunday 26 January at 8 PM (IST).

1st Repeat : Monday 27 January at 6 PM, 2nd Repeat : Tuesday 28th January  at 7 PM