The arc lights were firmly trained on him. And, Avinash Sable did what was expected. He put to shade his own national record in the men’s 3000m steeplechase on the second leg of the Indian Grand Prix at the Chandrasekharan Nair stadium on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old’s celebrations were rather muted, though, he had every reason to brew up a storm. But as it has been his wont over the years, the Maharashtra athlete more or less preferred to prove his mettle on the track, running a solo race right from the start to finish to chip away nearly two full seconds on his previous mark of 8:18.12, set at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Given his established style of racing, at least at the National level, the Army runner – a late starter in competitive athletics – kept his sights of doing a good run this evening right from the early stage of the race itself. He was into the lead almost straightaway and did pace each lap of the seven-and-a-half-lap event quite methodically, never flagging even once.

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Sable went through both the land and water jumps too efficiently and as it turned out, he was rewarded well as he finished with his new time of 8:16.21, becoming the first Indian to get past the qualifying norms for the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and this year’s World championships. The superiority with which Sable enjoyed his day’s outing could well be measured by the massive lead of 20 seconds and more than that he enjoyed over his nearest rival in the end.

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Kamalpreet Kaur won the women’s discus throw without much ado. But her winning effort measured only 61.39m, a far cry to the high standards that the Punjab thrower had maintained through the last season. However, it would be prudent not to read much in Kaur’s card of the day, this being the only buildup phase of what is going to be a long season through the remaining part of the current year.

Perhaps, the other athlete who paraded her skills better was B. Aishwarya (Karnataka) who got past the qualifying norms, in women’s triple jump, for both the CWG and the continental Games. The 24-year-old enjoyed a lethal series , touching an impressive 13.94m off her fourth attempt – also marking the second best distance in the event by an Indian.