Federation Cup | Avinash Sable, Swapna Barman and others pass the qualifying mark for Asian Championship; Hima Das misses out
Athletes Avinash Sable, Swapna Barman, Jinson Johnson, Rajiv Arokia and others have cleared the qualifying mark for the Asian Championship during the Federation Cup in Patiala. However, sprinter Hima Das, who clinched a gold in 400m, missed out closely from making it to the Asian Championship.
The Federation Cup, which was scheduled between March 15 to March 18 in Patiala, acted as a selection trial for the Asian Athletics Championship 2019 which will be held in Qatar’s Doha. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had set stringent qualifying standards for the continental event. However, most of the athletes performed exceptionally well during the senior national event in Patiala to earn a place in the Doha event.
The most notable performance of this year’s Fed Cup has to be of army man Avinash Sable as he blew away his competition by breaking his own national record timing of 8:29.80 by clocking 8:28.94 in the men's 3000m steeplechase.
"I had come here with the target of booking a World Championships berth. I did it with a national record. It is very satisfying that I did well early in the season. I will target the Olympics qualification (8:22.00) in the Asian and World Championships. There the competition will be strong with the best in Asia and the world. I will be able to push myself," said the 24-year-old, as reported by PTI.
Sable could not take part in the Asian Games, as he had injured himself while training under former national coach Nicolai Sensarev, only to return back to his previous coach Amrish Kumar.
"I was in the wilderness for two months after parting ways with Nikolai sir. I heard people saying that I will not be able to do another record. Today I have proved it that I can run 8:29. My timing can win a medal in the Asian Championships," he said, as he signed off.
On the other hand, young sprint sensation, Hima Das clocked 52.88s in the 400m race, which was considerably slower than her own national record of 50.79s. In spite of missing the qualifying mark for the Asian Championships of 52.75, she won the gold medal.
However, it is very likely that she will be selected for the Championship given that she had taken a month-long break due to her HSC examinations.
"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. But I am free now and will be in the national camp. I hope to keep improving my timing,” said the 19-year-old.
Similarly, national record holder Dutee Chand also won the 100m but failed to breach the qualifying standard of 11.40s as she recorded 11.45s. It is to be noted that she had earlier cleared the 200m qualifying standard.
In the same event, MR Poovamma of Karnataka clinched silver as she clocked 53.15, while Saritaben Gayakwad, with a timing of 53.28, was awarded a bronze.
Army man and Asian games gold medallist Jinson Johnson also cleared the qualification mark of 3:46:00 comfortably, as he clocked 3:41:67 in the 1500m event. Ajay Kumar Saroj clocked 3:43:57 and Rahul clocked 3:44:94 to win silver and bronze respectively. However, the selection committee’s decision will be closely watched as only two of the three can take part in the Championship in Doha.
"This is my first race of the season and I was just looking at qualifying for the Asian Championships. I have achieved that and I am all right with the timing also," said Johnson.
Rajiv Arokia bettered navy man Muhammad Anas’ national record to qualify in the 400m men’s event with a timing of 45.73, seconds better than the qualifying standard of 45.85. Anas clocked 45.89 to settle for the silver medal and Kunhu Muhammed clocked 46.47 to win a bronze medal.