Indian 3000-meter steeplechaser Avinash Sable’s hopes for top-level international competition have received a boost with his inclusion in the elite Diamond League circuit of World Athletics for the next season.
The 26-year-old will help Sable test himself against strong opposition in Europe, as he makes it to the Tokyo Olympics next year, his coach Amit Kumar said.
After the epidemic forced the removal of several incidents from the Diamond League, the circuit is expected to feature as 32 subjects in the 2021 season. From Sable’s training base in Bangalore, Kumar said, “Participating in the prestigious competition will give a big boost to his (Sable) confidence.”
The Army runner broke the steeplechase national record twice at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships. He clocked 8 minutes, 21.37 seconds in the final, while Tokyo finished 13th among 16 runners under the qualification mark 8:22.
His coach said: “Sable is running better than last year.”
Sable showcased his fitness at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on 29 November and set a national record with a clock of 60 minutes, 30 seconds to finish tenth. This helped to test their stamina and basic preparedness in an epidemic season with hardly any competition.
The Diamond League season was reorganized due to an epidemic with the series getting shorter and some incidents dropped, the president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Adele Sumariwala, reported.
The World Athletics and Diamond League organizers decided on Friday to restore a full complement of 32 events, including the 3000m steeplechase and 5000m for the next season. The series will be held in 12 countries from May to September. The final is scheduled in early September in the Swiss city of Zurich.
AFI has also planned a training-cum-exposure trip to Sable. It has requested financial assistance to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), to send the runner to Belarus for training till the Olympics. “Once he is based in Europe, it will not be difficult to travel for competitions within the continent,” Sumerwala said.
AFI will create a road map for other top athletes, including Asian Games javelin champion Neeraj Chopra, to compete in the Diamond League. “We are hoping to start the next season on a positive note,” he said.
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