Can Avinash Sable bag India's second World Athletics Championships medal?
While Avinash Sable has shaved off 8s since his last appearance in a World Athletics Championships final, the odds of him making the podium at Eugene will be a tall bet.
Avinash Sable qualified for his second consecutive World Athletics Championships final after finishing third in his heat clocking 8:18.75 at Eugene, Oregon.
The last time Sable competed in the World Championships Final, he clocked a National Record timing of 8:21.37 but finished a lowly 13th out of 15 athletes who completed the race in 2019 at Doha.
But, that was almost 3 years back and Avinash Sable is a much-improved athlete now. The Indian national record still stands in his name, but he has shaved almost 9 seconds off it at 8:12.48.
However, does it mean Avinash Sable can bag India's historic second World Championships medal come his final on Tuesday?
Well, that remains a far-fetched idea.
First things first, Avinash Sable's qualification timing of 8:18.75 was the seventh fastest recorded that day and was merely a hundredth of seconds better than Eritrea's Yemane Haileselassie to earn a direct qualification to the final.
While Sable has been on a constant rise this season bettering his own timings with each passing competition, a couple of athletes have been running sub-eight minutes – more than 12 seconds better than the Indian, for fun.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics Champion Souifane El Bakkali holds a best of 7:58.28 this season, while Ethiopia's Lamecha Girma has run below 8 minutes thrice this season with a best of 7:58.68.
Among the finalists Avinash Sable's season-best and National Record of 8:12.48 is just the 10th best.
Besides, among the 15 finalists, Avinash Sable is one of the only six to have never run a sub-8 minute 10 seconds time in their career.
In fact, Sable's personal best of 8:12.48 is the 12th best amongst the finalists.
If one looks statistically at the Men's 3000m Steeplechase Final in the 2022 World Championships, the chances of Sable finishing on the podium look very bleak.
But, the 27-year-old armyman has defied all odds in the past few months. He has consistently improved his timings and a run of his life at the Hayward Field could well put Avinash Sable agonisingly close to the podium.