Kenyans have been dominating Commonwealth Games steeplechase since the 1990s. They won the first two places in the 1990 and 1994 games and after that they won 3 medals namely Gold, Silver and Bronze in 5 Commonwealth Games. Avinash has shaken their dominance.
In the last 100 meters in Birmingham, Avinash had 3 Kenyans – former Cornelius Kibruto, Amos Seerum and Abraham Kibiwot – leading the way. Then Avinash jumped as the 4th person while jumping a hurdle. Avinash showed little fear of Abraham Kibiwot as he pushed back every Kenyan player and went forward.
Then he improved and took the first place in the thread and won the gold. Avinash’s achievement has put Indian athletics on the global stage.
An army runner, Avinash ran with the intention of giving his best for the country. It showed his passion and Vida effort. The 27-year-old Avinash clocked 8:12.48 seconds at the Diamond League held in Morocco last month. A comparison with this shows the improvement in his performance. He has improved the time for the 9th time in the last few years.
Avinash Chaplain, who has achieved a silver medal in the steeplechase for the first time in Commonwealth history, says, “I have to start training again as if I have not achieved anything. I feel happy to have won the medal. But I mustn’t think I’ve done anything extraordinary, I’ll pay more attention to this. I remember my failed matches and learn from them. I forget my victories.”
It is this mindset that helps Avinash overcome disappointment. Avinash finished 11th in the recent World Championships. He had the infamous reputation of being the slowest pacer in World Championship history. Avinash clocked 8:31.75 seconds to cross the mark in that event. Since then, with hard training, Vida has turned the attention of the athletics world towards her by hitting the target in 8:11.20 seconds in Birmingham.
Avinash Chaplain continues, “If I can’t achieve anything even with the best training, I thought I can’t achieve anything.
When I was in America, I trained with Kenyan athletes. When I can train with them, why can’t I compete with them?’ I thought that, so I told myself that a medal is the goal no matter what color it is.
Going into the Commonwealth Games, I wanted to win gold. There may be a slight error in starting the flow. I had a lot of energy left, but I couldn’t beat Abraham Kibiwot.
If you keep thinking about the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, you cannot win the World Championship. “I said to myself, ‘We have to fight hard for things that don’t come easily, we have to take this challenge when no Indian player has thought of beating the Kenyan players and winning medals in the world championships.'”
India’s Avinash Chapleau’s spirited run in the men’s 3000m steeplechase final at the Commonwealth Games showed us the spark inside him, like a blazing flame on a dark track. Avinash tore through the air to get closer and closer to the finish line in the seven-and-a-half-lap race around Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium track. The time difference between gold medalist Abraham Kibiwot of Kenya (8:11.15) and Avinash was just 0.05 seconds. Avinash crossed the finish line in 8:11.20 minutes to win the silver medal.