India’s Avinash Sable qualified for Tokyo Olympics in men’s 3,000m steeplechase event by shattering his own national record for the second time in three days though he finished 13th in the final race of the World Championships here on Friday.
Avinash clocked 8 minute 21.37 seconds to breach the Olympics qualifying standard of 8:22.00. He also bettered his own national record of 8:25.23 which he clocked on Tuesday during the first round heats.
But the difference in class with the medal winners was evident as he finished far behind at 13th spot out of 15 who completed the race.
Reigning Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya defended his 2017 title with a time of 8:01.35, more than 20 seconds faster than Avinash, while Lamecha Girma (8:01.36) of Ethiopia and Soufiane Bakkali (8:03.76) of Morocco took the silver and bronze respectively.
The 25-year-old from Mandwa in Maharashtra had made it to Friday’s finals in dramatic circumstances after he initially failed to make the cut in the heat races on Tuesday.
He was later included among the men’s 3000m steeplechase finalists after the Athletics Federation of India successfully protested that he was obstructed by other athletes during the heat race.
The race referee, after examining video footages, agreed that Avinash was significantly obstructed on two occasions. India’s protest was accepted and under Rule 163.2 (Obstruction), and Avinash was included for the final.
Irfan finishes 27th
Later in the day, race-walker KT Irfan was nowhere near his own national mark and finished 27th in the 20km walk with a timing of 1:35:21 while Devendra Singh was nine places behind at 36.
The 27-year-old Irfan, who has already qualified for Tokyo Games, was lagging behind in 30th spot at the halfway mark but managed to improve three positions.
Devendra also did not have a good start and was in 46th position at the 5km mark and was always playing catch up.
Of the 54 athletes on the start list, two did not start, five were disqualified and seven did not finish.
Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi bagged the gold with a timing of 1:26:34 with Vasiliy Mizinov (1:26:49) and Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom (1:27:00) took the silver and bronze respectively.