"I was feeling little down, my strong points became weak": Avinash Sable recalls World Athletics C'ships setback

New Delhi | September 22, 2023 12:17:24 AM IST
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Ahead of his Asian Games campaign, Commonwealth Games silver medalist Avinash Sable recalled how tough it was for him to find motivation following a weak outing at the recently-concluded World Athletics Championships and how he worked hard to regain his confidence.

Sable had failed to progress into the final of the World Athletics Championships 2023 as he finished seventh in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in Budapest. The athlete, who holds India’s national record in men’s 3000m steeplechase with a mark of 8:11.20, logged 8:22.24 to finish seventh in heat one. Only athletes finishing in the top five in the three heats advance to the final. 

However, at the Asian Games, he will participate in the men's 3000 m steeplechase final on October 1, followed by the men's 5000 m event on October 4. 

Sable, who has his eyes set on a medal, recalled how his preperations for the World Championships and the setback, his seventh-place finish in the Budapest meet. 

"My preparation for the last World Championships was good. I thought qualifying would be tough because I was feeling 100 per cent in terms of my fitness. But I made a few mistakes. Sometimes the body does not react in tactical races. I do not think we lacked in pace. I fumbled in the last water jump. I feel I gave up the race early, I never left the race in the last 200m. I did not give my best that day," he said in a media interaction on Thursday.

"I learnt a lot from that race. When the race becomes slow, slow runners can also finish better. I learnt to give my best in the first race and then think about the final. My fitness was good so I thought the race would be easy. I learnt that I need to race according to your strong points," he added. 

Sable admitted that he felt a little down that results were not coming despite him being at his peak fitness, but his coaches served as a source of motivation. 

"After the World Championships, I thought the results were not coming despite being at the peak of my fitness. I was a little down because I had worked very hard but my coaches motivated me. We went to the US and prepared there for the Asian Games. I cannot sit back and think about what has happened in the past," he said.

"My strong points became weak. My hurdles and water jumps were not good this year. But I have worked hard on my workout sessions, hurdles and technique, made a lot of changes in training methods and I am feeling confident all this will work in the Asian Games," he added. 

Sable is determined to do well in his Asiad debut and wants to beat his personal best timings. 

"The Asian Games will be my season's last race. This year I did not run any race for the national record but I hope to clock my best timing in Hangzhou. I will be running for timing in the Asian Games. The training I had, I hope to record my personal best and win the race," the athlete said. 

Sable said that he did not compete in both men's 3000 m steeplechase and men's 5000 m together that much as larger focus was on the former. He added that the decision to take part in both events was taken with discussions with his coaching staff. 

"I am confident about steeplechase and my main aim is to win gold in that event but I am also focussing on 5,000 metres," he said.

"I have not competed in two events much this year, I was only focussing on steeplechase. In the Commonwealth Games, I participated in two events on the same day so I couldn't do well. I have been preparing for two events from March to April this year. I do not have that much experience in 5000m as I have in steeplechase but it's good that there are two days for recovery after steeplechase," he said.