In the recent Rabat Diamond League, Sabel clocked a time of 8.12.48 and finished fifth and second behind Consul Kipruto of Kenya, who won the 2016 Olympic gold. This was the 27-year-old’s latest offer on record. He is the only Indian to run a half marathon in 61 minutes and puts it at a select level.
Sable will now travel to Oregon for the World Championships from July 15. He is currently training under American distance coach Scott Simmons. Indian athletes generally have a conservative approach to the race, trying to win rather than risk and get out of the medal.
Sable, however, is made from a separate mold. He says he took the first risk that he tried to get a promotion in the Indian Army by winning a medal in steeplechase which he achieved among the 2017 civilians.
The time of 8.39 (in the name of Gopal Saini against the NR of 8.28 at that time) convinced him to let him know that he wanted to go for the record. So when he scored more than 8.40 in the 2018 Federation Cup and finished second, fellow runners started taunting him.
“They were ruthless and told me: ‘You win a race and talk of breaking the national record. Any steeplechase in India runs below 8.28.
Eventually Sable broke the record and has now made it a habit. Going into sub-8, he says, is not a problem, it’s a mindset that needs to change.
“If I came to this event with a winning mindset of 9 minutes and then ran 47 seconds faster, anything is possible,” he says.
Training in Colorado with Simmons has boosted his confidence level.
“All I get there is training with the top athletes and if I stay with them in training, I think I can run better,” he says.
Sable says that constant training with the same or better athletes helps build confidence.
“I have no problem training in India, but I have to train alone because there is no one to keep me company at that level.”