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Avinash Sable can be a world champion after minor changes, says new coach Scott Simmons

Avinash Sable, national record-holder in steeplechase, can win medals at the World Championships and Olympics, says his American coach.

Avinash Sable can be a world champion after minor changes, says new coach Scott Simmons

SS Manoj

Updated: 12 April 2022 4:27 PM GMT

Scott Simmons, a coach at the prestigious American Distance Project for the past 10 years or so, needs no introduction. At least to Avinash Sable, the national record holder in men's 3000m steeplechase who has been turning heads.

The two have met at international competitions many times over the years - including at Tokyo 2020, where the Indian was seventh in only his first Olympics. Simmons was the coach of Tokyo Olympics 5,000m bronze medalist and Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo.

The American coach, who also holds a Master of Sports Science degree in sports coaching, has no qualms to credit Avinash's Indian coaches and his support team for the steeplechaser's record-breaking spree.

"Jaiveer Singh (Avinash's long-time coach) and his team should take the full credit. I have seen Avinash competing all over the world for the past few seasons. His technique is good and fitness is great, thanks to his coaches. I always found Avinash to be a natural steeplechaser, a talented, disciplined and very hard working athlete," Simmons told The Bridge after the 27-year-old improved his own national record from 8:18.12s set at Tokyo to 8:16.21s in Trivandrum during the Indian GP2 on Wednesday.

Avinash Sable with coach Simmons at the IGP 2 in Trivandrum

The American coach has trained at least 50 American long-distance and steeplechase runners like Tokyo Olympian Benard Keter, Alae Eddine Khannouchi, Shadrack Kipchirchir, Emmanuel Bor, Leonard Korir, Hillary Bor and Stanley Kebenei. He has won at least five US national coach's trophies.

'Leaning in at hurdles will save valuable time'

Speaking on Avinash, Simmons said there are only minor corrections to be done, which will make him a medal contender in all major competitions. He said he has found out that when Avinash approaches land hurdles and water jumps, his central mass is behind him and precious micro seconds are lost.

"…Then there is some breaking going on at that point. Instead, he should lean in at the hurdles and stop the breaking point to gain more valuable time. This will help him run his last of the 7-and-a half-lap race in sub-60 seconds. We'll be working on this in Ooty where we'll be shifting soon. Also I'll also help him get a couple of competitions in Eugene to acclimatize and get valuable experience," Simmon said about his plans for Avinash.

The first major event for the duo will be the Oregon World Championships, Eugene, in the US to be held from July 15.

"Once he makes those corrections, he will become faster than what we observed. And Avinash is capable of doing sub-8:10s (a massive six seconds off his personal best). If he achieves that he can be a World and an Olympic medal contender," Simmons stressed.

Given Simmons's understanding of physiology and its impact to make an athlete better, one can hope Avinash is on the way to a podium finish.

Those in the 40-odd middle distance camp at SAI, Bengaluru, which will be shifted to Ooty, also include Jakarta Asiad champion Mandeep Singh, Ajay Saroj, 5000m champ Abhishek Pal, women's middle distance former Asian champion and Jakarta Asiad medallist PU Chitra, Lili Das, Olympian and Asiad champion Sudha Singh, Parul Choudhary among others.

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