India’s Avinash Sable finished fifth in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in the Diamond League on Sunday, as he failed to improve upon his performance of the last event.
The 28-year-old Sable, running his second race of the season, clocked 8 minutes 21.88 seconds, well outside his personal best of 8:11.20s, to finish fifth. He had finished 10th, clocking a below-par 8:17.18 seconds, at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco on May 28.
Running on a wet track, most of the competitors struggled to clock fast times.
Olympic and world champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco won the race in 8:09.84s, well outside his season’s and personal best time of 7:56.68s, which he had clocked while taking the top spot in Rabat.
The 2019 Diamond League champion Getnet Wale of Ethiopia was second with a timing of 8:12.27s while compatriot Abrham Sime took the third spot in 8:16.82s.
Sable, the 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, has been training abroad to prepare for the August 19 to 27 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Meanwhile, Norway’s Olympic champion Karsten Warholm won the men’s 400 metres hurdles in a race that was hindered by a protest from environmentalists at a rain-hit Galan Diamond League meet on Sunday.
Three protesters from A22 Network, who interrupted the Swedish final of “Let’s Dance” on TV4 last month, knelt on the track about 10 metres from the finish line, stretching a banner across six lanes, forcing most of the field to run through it.
Warholm, running out in lane eight, was not affected.
“It is permissible to protest, but this is not the way to do it,” Warholm told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “It is disrespectful to those who are here to do a good job.
“I must honestly admit that I’m pissed off.”
The 27-year-old double world champion, who slapped his thighs and let out a loud whoop during the introductions, ran blind in lane eight en route to a time of 47.57 seconds.
While he was a way off his world record of 45.94 set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, two victories in two races bodes well for the World Athletics Championships scheduled for Aug. 19-27 in Budapest after an injury-riddled 2022 season.
It was not a day for records with the weather – driving rain for most of the night and a chilly 15 C – playing spoiler. The crowd at Stockholm Stadium huddled in red rain ponchos.
“I felt very good before the start but the conditions make it a little bit more challenging, but I felt I had to get in and got to post another good time, so I am very pleased,” Warholm said. “I am 100% exactly where I want to be.”
Freweyni Hailu led a trio of Ethiopians in the top three spots in the women’s 1,500m, surging into the lead with half a lap remaining to finish in 4:02.31.
“The victory is great but the competition was not ideal due to the weather. But we have to adapt to all conditions,” Hailu said. “I believe in more victories to come this season.
Kenyan Beatrice Chebet won a tactical women’s 5,000, opening a yawning gap on the field with 300 metres remaining to clock a season’s best 14:36.52.
“The first thing was to get the win today and the second was to fight with these conditions,” said Chebet, silver medallist in the event at the 2022 world championships. “Yes, the weather was not really good but you need to run in any conditions.”
Akani Simbine of South Africa, a top-five finisher in the last three world championships, was not really challenged en route to victory in the men’s 100 metres in 10.03 seconds.
“I just wanted the win here and I got it so glad at the moment and let’s go building up on it,” Simbine said. “In such conditions, I think the time was fast … I do not like rain, I was cold. I just went there and ran.”
(With inputs from Reuters)