Birmingham: India’s Avinash Sable bettered his own national record by almost a second to win the silver medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, here Saturday.
Sable clocked 8:11.20 to better the previous NR of 8:12.48, set at the Rabat Diamond League earlier this year. It was also India’s first-ever medal in the steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games.
Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwot, the 2018 Gold Coast silver medallist and one of the leading runners this year, narrowly edged the Indian by 0.05 seconds to win the gold medal. World junior champion Amos Serem, also from Kenya, took the bronze at 8:16.83. Kenyan Olympic and two-time world champion Conseslus Kipruto finished sixth in 8:34.96.
Sable’s feat was a historic one considering it was the first time since Victoria 1994 that the mighty Kenyans failed to sweep the podium in men’s 3000m steeplechase at the CWG. Canada’s Graeme Vincent Fell won the bronze back then to deny Kenyan runners a 1-2-3 finish.
The 27-year-old Sable, who finished 11th at the world athletics championships in Oregon last month after a slow start, was quick off the blocks during his race at the Alexander Stadium and was in the leading pack with three Kenyan runners, who led the race in the initial phase.
With the rest of the field falling behind, Sable did well to stay with the Kenyan trio, considered as the pre-tournament favourites to clean sweep the podium.
It was in the final stretch that the Indian stepped on the gas and moved into the medal positions. The final 150m proved to be a sprint to the finish line as Sable and Kibiwot duked it out for the top spot. The Indian had the Kenyan on his toes but eventually fell 0.05 seconds short of the gold.