India’s campaign at the Athletics World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, did not get off to a bright start. None of the Indians competing on the opening day on Saturday managed to get to the final of their respective event.
In what was an upset result, Avinash Sable failed to make it to the final of the men’s 3000m steeplechase event. Running in the first Heat of the event, Sable clocked a time of 8:22.24 mins to finish seventh. Only the top five runners in each Heat qualify for the final.
The 28-year-old from Maharashtra was, in fact, in fifth position heading into the closing stage of his race, but inconsistent jumping on the last few hurdles saw him drop to seventh and finish just under two seconds behind Japan’s Ryoma Aoki (8:20.54) who claimed the last qualification spot in the first Heat. Sable finished 14th overall.
Sable had, just last year, become the first non-Kenyan in 28 years to stand on the podium at the Commonwealth Games, when he won an impressive silver medal. On Saturday though, it was the first time in three World Championships appearances that he did not make it to the final.
In the first event of the day, the men’s 20km race walk, Vikash Singh finished 27th with a time of 1:21:58 hrs, ahead of compatriots Paramjeet Singh Bisht (35th with a time of 1:24:02 hrs) and 47th-placed Akashdeep Singh (1:31:12 hrs).
World Athletics Championships debutant Shaili Singh, in the women’s long jump, ended her campaign in the group phase, finishing 24th overall. The 19-year-old, who is being coached by national record holder Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert, managed a best distance of 6.40 metres – well short of her 6.76 metres personal best.
Competing in Group B, her best jump of the day saw her finish 14th in the 18-member group.
In the afternoon session of events on Saturday, Ajay Kumar Saroj clocked a personal best time of 3:38.24 minutes in the men’s 1500 metre race. However, that was only good enough to help him finish 35th overall, and 13th in Heat 3, where only the top six in each Heat go through to the final.
India had three competitors in the men’s triple jump event, Praveen Chithravel, Abdulla Aboobacker and Eldhose Paul. None, however, managed to make the finals cut.
Aboobacker, who finished seventh in Group A and 15th overall managed to jump 16.61 metres – 10 centimetres short of equalling American jumper Chris Benard’s tally of 16.71 metres, which proved to be the finals cut-off.
Chithravel, 11th in Group B and 20th overall, jumped 16.38 metres and Paul managed to get to 15.59 metres to finish 17th in Group B and 29th overall.