Maharashtra's Avinash Sable paid the best possible tribute to late coach Nikolai Snesarev, posting a new national record time of 8 minutes 20.20 seconds to win the 3000m steeplechase at the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships here on Wednesday.
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 Toor had a superb series of throws at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports.
Sable, who set the earlier national mark at 8:21.37 in the World Championships in Doha on October 4, 2019, broke free of the pack after a lap and a half and raced the clock on the third day of the competition.
Having already secured Olympic qualification, the 26-year-old was a picture of determination and confidence as he chased his target time -- almost as if to honour the late Belarussian coach.
Javelin thrower 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 showed a hunger for consistency and desire to embrace consistency rather than rest on his past feats.
Earlier, 26-year-old 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 20.20m, 20.17m, 20.58m and 20.47m 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 through the women's 3000m steeplechase only to sprint away in the final 200m to a secure comfortable win in the end.
She was also superior at the water jumps where Jagdale lost some precious time.
Priyanka Kerketta (Jharkhand) came up with a final effort of 6.10m to leapfrog to a gold medal past Rintu Mathew (Kerala) and Sherin Abdul Gafoor (Tamil Nadu), who both had best efforts of 6.07m each.
Kerketta, 22, was lying in the fourth spot with a best of 6.01m but her final jump pushed Telangana's Agasara Nandini out of 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.
The results (finals):
Men 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.
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