Tokyo Olympics-bound Avinash Sable bettered his personal best and rewrote the national record yet again in men’s 3000m steeplechase to win the gold medal at the 24th National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala on Wednesday. He clocked a time of 8:20.20 in Patiala.

The 26-year-old broke free of the pack after a lap and a half and then raced against the clock.

Sable had earlier qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 3000m steeplechase event by shattering his own national record twice in three days though he finished 13th in the final race of the World Championships in Doha in 2019.

Avinash clocked 8 minutes 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.

Also in action on Wednesday was Neeraj Chopra in the men’s javelin throw final where the Haryana athlete bagged gold with a best throw of 87.80m.

Having already secured Olympic qualification, the 26-year-old Sable was a picture of determination and confidence as he chased his target time – almost as if to honour his late Belarussian coach Nikolai Snesarev who had died at the NIS campus in Patiala on March 5.

“I am yet to hit my peak. I will increase the intensity of training gradually so that during the Games I can perform at my optimal level. I am really glad that I could rewrite my national record again for the firth time but this won’t be the last,” said Avinash Sable after the race.

Along with javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Sable gave India much reason for cheer. Chopra broke his own meet record while Tajinderpal Toor had a superb series of throws.

Chopra sustained his fine run of form with a massive throw over 87.80m on his final attempt which secured him a new meet record. Having raised the National record to 88.07m in the Indian Grand Prix III here on March 5, he struggled a bit in his earlier attempts but after pumping himself for the sixth and final go, he sent the javelin close to his personal best.

“I regularly hit the 84m mark at practice but my best throws come at competitions. I will try to improve my distance in the upcoming competitions and eventually try to breach the 90m mark,” said Neeraj Chopra after winning the gold medal.

Earlier, 26-year-old Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Punjab) uncorked a series of big throws as he sought to meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 21.10m. Opening with a throw of 19.99m, the strapping left-hander went past the 20m mark on each of his four other legal throws, recording 20.20, 20.17, 20.58 and 20.47 with a foul on his fourth try.

The world No 24 was looking to join 24 others who have achieved the Olympic entry standard. At the moment, he is third on the list of eight who can qualify on the basis of their world ranking. The final two attempts on Wednesday evening showed that he is getting better outcomes for his sustained efforts.

Parul Chaudhary (Uttar Pradesh) played the waiting game to perfection, letting Komal Jagdale (Maharashtra) set the pace but staying on her heels in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase only to sprint away in the final 200m to secure a comfortable win in the end. She was also superior at the water jumps where Komal Jagdale lost some precious time.

Priyanka Kerketta (Jharkhand) came up with a final effort of 6.10m to leapfrog to gold medal past Rintu Mathew (Kerala) and Sherin Abdul Gafoor (Tamil Nadu), who both had best efforts of 6.07m each. Priyanka Kerketta, 22, was lying in the fourth spot with a best of 6.01m but her final jump pushed Telangana’s Agasara Nandini outside the medal bracket.

Ankesh Chaudhary (Himachal Pradesh) won the fastest of three men’s 800m semifinals, clocking 1:50.81, ahead of Krishan Kumar (Haryana) and Anu Kumar (Uttarakhand) but with Asian Games gold medalist Manjit Singh (Haryana) in the fray, the final could see a faster time.

The women’s two-lap final will pit MR Poovamma against Delhi’s Chanda and Shalu Chaudhary as well as Lili Das (West Bengal) and Haryana’s Rachna.

On Tuesday, a few days shy of his 19th birthday, Usaid Khan (Uttar Pradesh) won the Decathlon with 6890 points. He built a total of 3572 points on the first day with good performances in the 100m and 400m sprints to insure against the strong second-day challenge of Navjor Singh (Punjab). By improving his throwing, Usaid Khan can aspire to rise as an Asian Games prospect.

The results (finals):


10000m: 1. Abhishek Pal (Uttar Pradesh) 29:47.49; 2. Kartik Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 29:48.21; 3. Arjun Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) 29:49.46.

110m Hurdles: 1. P Veeramani (Tamil Nadu) 14.57 seconds; 2. CP Srikanth Madhya (Karnataka) 14.85; 3. Yashwant Kumar Laveti (Andhra Pradesh) 15.01.

3000m Steeplechase: 1. Avinash Sable (Maharashtra) 8:20.20 (New National and Meet Records. Old National Record: 8:21.37, Sable, Doha, 2019; Old Meet Record: 8:28.94, Sable, Patiala, 2019); 2. Shankar Lal Swamy (Rajasthan) 8:34.33; 3. Rajkumar (Haryana) 8:49.96.

High Jump: 1. Sarvesh Anil Kushare (Maharashtra) 2.15m; 2. Aadarsh Ram (Tamil Nadu) 2.10; 3. Geo Jos (Kerala) 2.10 and Siddharth Yadav (Haryana) 2.10.

Shot Put: 1. Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Punjab) 20.58m; 2. Karanveer Singh 18.98; 3. Devinder Singh (Punjab) 18.04.

Javelin Throw: 1. Neeraj Chopra (Haryana) 87.80m (New Meet Record. Old: 86.94, Neeraj Chopra, Patiala, 2018); 2. Yashvir Singh (Haryana) 79.31; 3. Rohit Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 78.88.


100m Hurdles: 1. C Kanimozhi (Tamil Nadu) 13.63 seconds; 2. Agasara Nandini (Telangana) 13.88; 3. R Nithya Ramraj (Tamil Nadu) 14.08.

3000m Steeplechase: 1. Parul Chaudhary (Uttar Pradesh) 10:01.06; 2. Komal C Jagdale (Maharashtra) 10:05.43; 3. Chinta Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) 10:36.45

Long Jump: 1. Priyanka Kerketta (Jharkhand) 6.10m; 2. Rintu Mathew (Kerala) 6.07; 3. Sherin Abdul Gafoor (Tamil Nadu) 6.07.

Tuesday’s result

Decathlon: 1. Usaid Khan (Uttar Pradesh) 6820 points (100m: 11.19 seconds; LJ: 6.69m; SP: 11.50m; HJ: 1.86m; 400m: 51.28 seconds; 110mH: 15.38 seconds; DT: 34.30m; PV: 4.30m; JT: 46.18m; 1500m: 4:43.29); 2. Navjor Singh (Punjab) 6649; 3; Umesh Lamba (Rajasthan) 6632.

(With AFI inputs)