Federation Cup: Sable books Worlds berth with national record

It was a disappointing day for Hima Das, however, who missed the Asian Championships mark on the final day competition.

Avinash Sable Federation Cup 2019

Avinash Sable (R) during his steeplechase run at the Federation Cup.   -  UTHRA GANESAN

For 37 long years, Gopal Saini’s 3000m steeplechase national record stood tall. Now, it has been broken twice in less than a year, and Avinash Sable can stake claim to being the best in India by quite a margin in the event.

The 24-year old army man bettered his own previous best by clocking eight minutes, 28.94 seconds as the 23rd Federation Cup ended on a high note – as far as the AFI would be concerned -- here on Monday. It was the first time anyone in India has run under 8:29.00 – just like Sable was also the first to run under 8:30.00 last year – and was good enough to make the cut for not only the Asian Championships but the World Championships as well.

Monday though was more about proving those wrong who had first questioned his ability after a damaging ankle injury before the Asian Games, and then termed his Bhubaneswar performance last year as a one-off. “It was always on the back of my mind to prove that I deserve to be here. I had an injury and then I moved back to train under Amrish sir. The foreign coach (Nikolai Snesarev) was good and helped a lot but it just didn’t work out. But people were writing me off,” Sable said.

Also overcoming two years of frustration and less than satisfactory performances was Arokia Rajiv, who qualified for the Asian meet with his first sub-46sec run in almost a year. That he beat national record holder Muhammed Anas in the 400m was a bonus – the country’s premier quartermiler hadn’t beaten Anas for the last two years.

Arokia Rajiv Federation Cup

Arokia Rajiv qualified for the Asian meet with his first sub-46sec run in almost a year. PHOTO: UTHRA GANESAN   -  UTHRA GANESAN

“Things were bad. I had 4-5 bouts of viral fever and every time it set me back by months. My father passed away last year. There have been other problems. It was not easy for me to bounce back repeatedly. But I finally realised that problems will never end and we cannot let them affect our performance. I am happy to qualify but with the season advanced, the timing isn’t what I wanted. It will only get better,” Rajiv said, adding that he was determined to breach the 44.90-seconds Olympic qualifying mark in 2019 itself.

Jinson Johnson was also not at his best but still good enough to win by more than two seconds in the 1500m and achieve the Asian qualifying mark. In fact, the top three all made the cut and, with Manjit Singh already achieving the mark in the Grand Prix earlier, the AFI will have to choose its entries. Manjit pulled out in the first lap itself here.

It was, however, a disappointing outing in the women’s track competitions with both Dutee Chand (100m) and Hima Das (400m) failing to make the cut. While Dutee narrowly missed by .05 seconds, Hima was satisfied with her progression through the season so far, managing to go under 53 seconds here. “I have had a back injury for a while now but have not managed to get treatment. Now that I am free of exams, I will sort it out in the national camp,” she said.

The results

Men: 100m: 1. Gurindervir Singh (10.35s), 2. Harjit Singh (10.48), 3. Siva Kumar (10.50); 400m: 1. Arokia Rajiv (45.73s), 2. Muhd. Anas Yahiya (45.89), 3. Kunhu Mohd. (46.47); 1500m: 1. Jinson Johnson (3:41.67), 2. Ajay Kumar Saroj (3:43.57), 3. Rahul (3:44.94); 110m hurdles: 1. Surendra Jayakumar (14.06s), 2. Mohd. Fais C (14.18), 3. Suresh Kumar (14.34); long jump: 1. Muhd. Anees Yahiya (7.50m), 2. Athistam K (7.46m), 3. Siddharth Naik (7.34m); hammer throw: 1. Taranveer Singh (64.37m), 2. Gurkirat Singh (60.02m), 3. Amar Singh Rana (59.31m); 3000m steeplechase: 1. Avinash Sable (8:28.94), 2. Shankar Lal Swami (8:34.66), 3. Durga Bahadur Budha (8:46.09).

Women: 100m: 1. Dutee Chand (11.45s), 2. Archana Suseendran (11.72), 3. Ranga K (11.75); 400m: 1. Hima Das (52.88s), 2. MR Poovamma (53.15), 3. Saritaben Gayakwad (53.28); 1500m: 1. Gomathi Marimuthu (4:23.62), 2. Lili Das (4:23.84), 3. Chitra PU (4:24.05); 100m hurdles: 1. S. Pushpanjali (13.88s), 2. Elezabeth Antony (13.96), 3. Nithya R (14.02); shot put: 1. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (15.28m), 2. Abha Khatua (14.96m), 3. Tunlai Narzary (14.82m); 3000m steeplechase: 1. Parul Chaudhary (10:10.31), 2. Chinta Yadav (10:12.16), 3. Priti Lamba (10:12.59); heptathlon: 1. Swapna Barman (5901 pts), 2. Purnima Hembram (5597), 3. M. Sowmiya (5292).


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