Fed Cup: Avinash Sable sets national record in steeplechase

Patiala, March 17 (IANS) Avinash Sable of Maharashtra paid the best possible tribute to late coach Nikolai Snesarev by posting a new national record time of 8 minutes 20.20 seconds as he won the men’s 3000-metre steeplechase on the third day of the National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports here on Wednesday.
Along with javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Sable gave India much reason for cheer. Chopra broke his own meet record while Toor had a superb series of throws.
Sable, who set the earlier national mark at 8:21.37 in the World Championships in Doha on October 4, 2019, broke free of the pack after a lap-and-a-half. Having already secured Olympic qualification, the 26-year-old was a picture of determination and confidence as he chased his target time — almost as if to honour the late Indian long-distance runners’ Belarussian coach Snesarev who was found dead earlier this month in his hostel room.
Javelin thrower Chopra sustained his fine run of form with a massive throw over 87.80 m on his final attempt which secured him a new meet record. Having raised the national record to 88.07 m in the Indian Grand Prix III here on March 5, he showed a hunger for consistency and desire to embrace consistency rather than rest on his oars.
Earlier, the 26-year-old Toor (Punjab) uncorked a series of big throws as he sought to meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 21.10 m. Opening with a throw of 19.99 m, the strapping left-hander went past the 20 m mark on each of his four other legal throws, recording 20.20, 20.17, 20.58 and 20.47 with a foul on his fourth try.
The world No. 24 was looking to join 24 others who have achieved the Olympic entry standard. At the moment, he is third on the list of eight who can qualify on the basis of their world ranking. The final two attempts on Wednesday evening showed that he is getting better outcomes for his sustained efforts.
Parul Chaudhary (Uttar Pradesh) played the waiting to game to perfection, letting Komal Jagdale (Maharashtra) set the pace but staying on her heels through the women’s 3000 m steeplechase only to sprint away in the final 200 m to a secure comfortable win in the end. She was also superior at the water jumps where Komal Jagdale lost some precious time.
Priyanka Kerketta (Jharkhand) came up with a final effort of 6.10 m to leapfrog to gold medal past Rintu Mathew (Kerala) and Sherin Abdul Gafoor (Tamil Nadu), who both had best efforts of 6.07 m each. Kerketta, 22, was lying in fourth spot with a best of 6.01 m but her final jump pushed Telangana’s Agasara Nandini out of the medal bracket.
Ankesh Chaudhary (Himachal Pradesh) won the fastest of three men’s 800 m semifinals, clocking 1:50.81 ahead of Krishan Kumar (Haryana) and Anu Kumar (Uttarakhand) but with Asian Games gold medallist Manjit Singh (Haryana) in the fray, the final could see a faster time.
The women’s two-lap final will pit M.R. Poovamma against Delhi’s Chanda and Shalu Chaudhary as well as Lili Das (West Bengal) and Haryana’s Rachna.

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