Guwahati, Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Hima wins gold; misses Asian C’ship mark

 PATIALA, March 18: Steeplechaser Avinash Sable smashed his own national record to qualify for the World Championships while sprint sensation Hima Das clinched the gold in the women’s 400m race in the Federation Cup here on Monday.

Hima though missed the Asian Championships mark on the final day competition.

Jinson Johnson and Rajiv Arokia won the men’s 1500m and 400m respectively to qualify for the Asian Championships. Heptathlete Swapna Barman also qualified for the continental showpiece after winning the seven-event discipline with 5900 aggregate points.

The 24-year-old Sable from Maharashtra was the star of the day as he came up with a new national record time of 8:28.94 in the men’s 3000m steeplechase within six months of his earlier national record of 8:29.80 in September last year.

Sable’s rise has been remarkable as he shifted from cross country to steeplechase in 2017. He was with Belarusian coach Nikolai Snesarev when he created his earlier national record during the National Open Championships. He then parted ways with Nikolai and trained with Army coach Amrish Kumar.

Maharashtra’s Sable, who is currently a Havildar in the Army, had trained earlier under Kumar.

Sable said he was hurt to learn that people thought he would not be able to set another national record.

Kumar said his ward has the potential to win an Olympics medal in future.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Hima, who took a one-month break from training due to her 12th class examinations, clocked 52.88 seconds, which is well below her national record of 50.79. The timing was seconds more than the Asian Championships qualifying standard of 52.75 set by the Athletics Federation of India.

Hima, the reigning junior world champion in the quartermile event, is still likely to make it to the Indian team for next months Asian Championships in Doha, considering her past performances and her potential.

The selection committee of the AFI will meet on Tuesday to name the team.

“I took a break from rigorous training at the national camp due to my exams. I trained (in Guwahati) in between the exams but I know I did not do proper work out and warm up during the break and so I was not at my best,” Hima said after the race. – PTI

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