“If you see the timings in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there was a medal winner, who clocked eight minutes and 11 seconds [Kenyan Benjamin Kigen won bronze by clocking 8:11.45sec]
India's 3,000m steeplechase champion Avinash Sable, 28, is confident of breaking his own record of 8:11:20secs to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Indian army athlete, a silver medallist at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last August, recently returned from the United States where he trained at Colorado Springs under head coach Scott Simmons and alongside some of the world’s leading athletes including Tokyo Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist Paul Chelimo.
Speaking to mid-day on the sidelines of The Sportstar awards at a city hotel on Monday, Sable explained why he feels confident of doing well at the Paris Games: “If you see the timings in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there was a medal winner, who clocked eight minutes and 11 seconds [Kenyan Benjamin Kigen won bronze by clocking 8:11.45sec].
“So, comparatively, the way my current [performance] graph is going, I am a medal prospect at Paris. Even my coach [Simmons] believes I have a 100 per cent chance of winning a medal. Our first target is a medal at the next World Athletics Championships [in August at Budapest, Hungary]. I’m sure I can win a medal at the upcoming Asian Games [Hangzhou, China in September-October 2023] and that performance will further boost my confidence for a good show in Paris.”
Interestingly, Sable, who has encountered some issues while crossing the water-jump hurdle, has worked on the same with his coach.
‘I overcame fear’
“I’ve always had this fear that while running in the middle lane, I won’t be able to see the hurdle clearly. To overcome this, my coach [Simmons] made me run in a group during practice races and ensured I ran in the middle lane with athletes around me at all times. These numerous training sessions have helped me overcome my fear. I can now cross the hurdle confidently. This has also resulted in better timings,” said Sable.
Coach Simmons has also a set stiff target for Sable. “He wants me to run the steeplechase inside eight minutes and five seconds. For this, I have a weekly target of around 180km, which is 25 to 30kms on an average daily. The idea is to build my endurance. Coach [Simmons] believes that an improved endurance will help me get quicker and eventually reach the eight-minute, five-seconds mark,” Sable concluded.