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Athletics

Reset & Start from zero: CWG silver medallist Avinash Sable decodes his success mantra

The Bridge caught up with 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Avinash Sable in an exclusive chat about his recent win and his future roadmap.

Avinash Sable
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Avinash Sable with his Commonwealth Games silver (Source: JSW)

By

Pritish Raj

Updated: 2022-09-02T19:53:17+05:30

Athletics has been rising in India, and it is revolutionary. One of the pioneers of this revolution was the Army Man from the state of Maharashtra, Avinash Sable, who created history after winning a silver medal in 3000m Steeplechase in the recently concluded Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.

"After every win, I reset myself to zero and start afresh. I have to or else the euphoria of the previous win won't let me do better. I have to look at the next competition," Avinash Sable explained his mantra to The Bridge in a recent interaction.

Avinash has been improving internationally since his Tokyo Olympics race and participated in Diamond League, World Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2022.

"I have broken national records and I strive to do better. When I broke the first national record which was 37-year old, I never thought it will happen again but then I broke 8:20. Now I have reached 8:11 and I hope to break the 8-minute mark. If the 8-minute barrier is broken, more Indian athletes can think about doing well at the international," says Avinash about his streak of breaking national records for fun. Sable has broken the national record 8 times since 2018 and the timing improvement from his first to the eighth record is 19 seconds.

In his first appearance at World Championships, Avinash Sable endured an 11th-place finish, shocking everyone. Avinash says about that day, "I was sad because I knew 11th is not the place to finish given my fitness and planning. I was looking for a top-five finish but the day didn't end as per our plans."

"It was one of the slowest races and I am sure it won't happen again. My training and speed work was upto the mark but the race gave me multiple learning for sure. I have learnt that you don't have to follow anyone's race. Steeplechase is such an event where if you are stuck in a group which is behind, you will never recover."

The learnings from World Championships were crucial for Avinash's historic silver at Commonwealth Games.

"Yes, I had my lessons in Eugene. I decided not to follow anyone and go at my own pace. My main focus was to lead the race and that is what I did by setting up my tempo. I wished the race to be fast as my fitness level is upto the mark for a fast race."

"I missed at the finish line as I had energy left after the race also but it didn't work. I wanted to push for the gold but the Kenyan was better than me in that last 500m stretch. I wish I had that last push but it is hindsight now and hindsight is a thing of the past now," smiles Avinash remembering his historic race.

Competing at the top level requires mental fortitude, and that is one visible change in this rise of Athletics, the change in the mentality of Indian athletes. From Neeraj Chopra to Eldhose Paul to Avinash Sable, the uniting factor has been the belief to win and outperform everyone.

Avinash shed some light on the change of mentality "When you compete at the highest level, go to more international competitions and compete with the world's best athletes, it gives you confidence and a feeling of belongingness. When I faltered at the World Championships, the first thing which came to my mind was that I can compete at this level and all I need to do is trust in my abilities. That mentality added to my win at CWG."

"With more athletes going and winning at the international level will boost the confidence of other athletes and it will help us produce more champions."

As this season has ended, more international competitions are on the line, including World Championships, Asian Games and Diamond League.

The army man says about his future roadmap, " I want to compete more at the international level. My fitness is great, and I am practising regularly. I have already qualified for the World Championships and will look to better my performance from last time. The past year of competing at the top level has given me confidence that I can do better and go for the Olympics podium in 2024."

"The federation is doing well for Indian athletes and all the support we get makes it easy for us to focus on training without thinking much about the outcome."

Avinash will open his next season with Diamond League Doha and represent India at World Championships and Asian Games.

Avinash will run in the Delhi half-marathon, where he set the national marathon record in the 2020 edition. Although he didn't finish on the podium, he will be hopeful of a top 5 or 3 finish this time.

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