MUMBAI: Avinash Sable is a risk-taker in the classical sense. Failures only drive him further and, not surprisingly too, because the armyman from Beed has now broken the steeplechase national record multiple times after coping with taunts from fellow athletes.
Recently in the Rabat Diamond League, Sable clocked 8.12.48, finishing fifth and one-hundredth of a second behind Conseslus Kipruto, the Kenyan who had won the 2016 Olympic gold. This was the 27-year-old’s latest offering in terms of records. He is also the only Indian to run a half marathon in under 61 minutes putting him in the elite level.
Sable will now be heading for the World Championships in Oregon from July 15. Currently he is training under American distance coach Scott Simons. Indian athletes generally have a conservative approach to a race, which is to try and win it rather than risk and finish out of the medals.
Sable, though, is made from a different mould. He says the first risk he took was to try and earn a promotion in the Indian Army by winning a medal in the steeplechase which he achieved in the 2017 nationals.
A timing of 8.39 (As against the NR at that time of 8.28 in the name of Gopal Saini) gave him the confidence to state that he wants to go for the record. So when he clocked over 8.40 in the 2018 Federation Cup and finished second, fellow runners started taunting him.

“They were merciless and told me: ‘You win one race and talk of breaking the national record. Nobody in India runs under 8.28 in steeplechase’.”
Eventually Sable did break the record and now has made it a habbit. He says, going sub-8 is not a problem, it is the mindset that needs change.
“If I came into this event with the mentality of winning with a timing of 9 minutes and have subsequently run 47 seconds faster, then anything is possible,” he says.
Training in Colorado with Simons has raised his confidence level.
“What I get there is to train with top athletes and If I am keeping up with them in training, then I believe that I can run even better,” he says.
Sable says constantly training with athletes who are on par or better, helps build the confidence.
“I have no problem training in India, But I have to train alone as there is nobody to give me company at that level.”


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By Dipak

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