Avinash Sable had led the pack for nearly half the race in his 3000m steeple chase heat at the World Athletics Championships here while finishing seventh overall late last week. But the final on Monday evening was a very different story.
The final was a slow, tactical race and a very tricky affair. And Olympian Sable, who was near the back of the pack for most part of the race in his second Worlds final, could not do much in the end and finished 11th in 8:31.75s.
“The race was very difficult; it was very tactical and slow. I positioned myself well on the last lap. I am very strong in the 400m and it worked out for me,” said Morocco’s Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali (personal best 7:58.15), who won the gold in 8:25.13s, the slowest time in the history of the championships.
Sable, the Asian silver medallist who was 13th at the last Worlds in Doha in 2019, has been on a record-breaking spree the last couple of years. And when he improved his national record to 8:12.48s while finishing fifth at the Rabat Diamond League in Morocco in early June, perhaps he felt he had a taste of what he could expect at the Worlds. For, Moroccan Bakkali (7:58.15s) and Ethiopian Girma Lamecha (7:59.24) – the top two finishers at the Oregon Worlds – had taken the gold and silver at Rabat.
But whatever plans Sable had in mind for the Worlds final went for a toss in the slow race.