Birmingham, Aug 6: Avinash Sable became India’s first male athlete to win a long distance medal in the Commonwealth Games with a Silver in the 3000 m steeplechase and Priyanka Goswami also achieved a first while finishing on podium in a race walk event here on Saturday.
Sable broke his own national record on way to his Silver while Goswami too clinched a medal of same colour in the women’s 10,000 m race walk event on a productive day for India in the athletics competition.
Before Sable, Kavita Raut had won a long distance medal in CWG – a Bronze in the women’s 10,000 m race in the 2010 Delhi Games.
With the two Silver, the Indian athletics team’s medal count swelled to four, more than the number in 2018 Gold Coast where the country had won a Gold, Silver and Bronze each in track and field.
High jumper Tejswin Shankar and long jumper Murali Sreeshankar had won a Bronze and Silver respectively in Birmingham.
The 27-year-old Sable clocked 8:11.20s to better his earlier national record of 8:12.48 and finish behind Kenyan Abraham Kibiwot (8:11.15). Another Kenyan Amos Serem took the bronze with a time of 8:16.83.
Kibiwot had finished fifth in the World Championships in Eugene, USA, last month with a time of 8:28.95s while Sable had ended a disappointing 11th, clocking 8:28.95s in the slowest ever 3000 m steeplechase final in the history of the showpiece.
With the Silver here, Sable made amends for his disappointing performance in the World Championships.
“My last lap was disappointing, but I am really happy because it is a long (time) since India won a long distance medal,” Sable said after his event.
A farmer’s son from Mandwa village in Maharashtra’s Beed district, the Indian Armyman had the satisfaction of beating defending champion and 2016 Olympics champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya, who finished sixth here with a time of 8:34.96. Kipruto had also won a Bronze in the World Championships last month.
Sable, who has earlier served at the Siachen Glaciers before taking to athletics, has been on a national record breaking spree in recent times. He had clocked 8:12.48 when he finished fifth at the prestigious Diamond League Meeting in Rabat, Morocco in June.
Goswami clocked a personal best time of 43:38.83s to finish second behind Jemima Montag (42:34.30) of Australia. Emily Wamusyi Ngii (43:50.86) of Kenya took the bronze.
The other Indian in the fray, Bhawna Jat finished eighth and last with a personal best time of 47:14.13.
Harminder Singh was the first Indian to win a medal in race walk – a Bronze in the 20 km event in 2010 CWG in Delhi.
“This is the first Commonwealth Games medal in walking for an Indian woman so I’m really pleased to have created a piece of history,” Goswami said after the event.
“I wasn’t thinking about the Australian (Gold medallist Jemima Montag), when you look at what we did at the Olympics in Tokyo and the world championships last month she is a better walker than me. I just concentrated on my own race and I hope to close the gap on her (in the future) step by step.”
Asked about the mascots and fingernails she was having, Goswami said, “I have a Lord Krishna and I take him with me to every competition and he brought me luck today.
“I have also painted my nails with the flags of the country where I compete so I have England for the Commonwealth Games, Japan for the Olympic Games, Spain because I raced there and some other flags as well.”
Goswami is the national record holder in women’s 20 km race walk event with a time of 1:28:4 but she was competing in 10,000m as her pet event is not there in the Birmingham CWG.
In the last edition in Gold Coast, both the men and women competed in 20 km race walk event. But in Birmingham, the organisers decided to have competitions over 10 km, and that too on track. (PTI)