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Rediff.com  » Sports » CWG: The man who helped Sable challenge Kenyans...

CWG: The man who helped Sable challenge Kenyans...

Source: PTI
August 07, 2022 17:51 IST
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'I will never forget what coach Nikolai Snesarev did for me. Many coaches will come and go in my life but his influence on my career has been life-changing. He changed my belief.'

IMAGE: Avinash Sable beat a strong field of Kenyan athletes to win silver in the 3000m steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Coaches may come and go but late Nikolai Snesarev will have a special place in star steeplechaser Avinash Sable's heart for his contribution in his overall growth as an international athlete.

 

Sable beat a strong field of Kenyan athletes to win silver in the 3000m steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday and it was the Belarusian, who instilled that self belief in the army man.

Snesarev tragically passed away in 2021 after he came back to India that year, following a long gap.

"I will never forget what coach Nikolai Snesarev did for me. Many coaches will come and go in my life but his influence on my career has been life-changing. He changed my belief. I have never seen a more honest coach in my life," Avinash choked up while speaking about Snesarev.

"The preparations for the Olympics were going well when he left us (died in March 2021). It was a really difficult time for me. I would have never believed that Indians could fight Kenyans. I thought Indians go to international events just to participate. He changed that for me," he added.

On Saturday, Avinash's historic run not only made him the first Indian to win a medal in 3000 metre Steeplechase event, but he also ensured he shattered the almost two-and-a-half decade old Kenyan hegemony in the discipline as well.

"Indians have the ability to do well in all events at the world level. We have to believe that we have skills and talent. We should not be intimated when we are up against international athletes. It is not as difficult as we often think," Avinash said.

IMAGE: Avinash Sable's coach Nikolai Snesarev tragically passed away in 2021 after he came back to India that year, following a long gap.. Photograph: Avinash Sable/Instagram

Sable, whose stardom is on its ascendancy, feels that the time he spent abroad was instrumental to his success at the showpiece event.

"Training abroad was key for me. Had I stayed back and trained in India, I would have just kept breaking national records and would not have been able to challenge the Kenyans and win a medal," Sable said in a virtual press conference.

"Indian athletes must regularly train overseas and compete against international athletes. The last five to six months turned out to be quite good for me as I trained abroad. I did not have the same confidence when I was training in India," he added.

According to his coach Scott Simmons, Sable's never-say-die attitude sets him apart from the rest.

"I was so excited to see him go for win at the end. He could have easily got bronze & it would still have been a fantastic achievement. But he wanted that gold. That's his spirit. That's the mentality that's needed. In my view that's his best competition run," Simmons said.

"He (Sable) is a fighter. I have seen him fall and get back. He will continue to do that in the future. He is a very tough athlete. He will be at the top level very soon," he added.

"The World Championships final was truly an eye-opener for me. I never competed in an event like that in my career. So, after that, my coach changed my practice drills for the Commonwealth Games," Sable said.

Notwithstanding his success at the CWG, Sable wants to put his head down and has set his sights for the next big events, including the Diamond League.

"I just want to continue working hard and prepare myself for the next big events in the coming days. Even yesterday, it was my decision to take part in the 5000m event. So, I just want to keep going," Avinash said.

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