India's Annu Rani failed to repeat her impressive qualifying round form as she finished eighth in the women's javelin throw while Avinash Sable made it to the men's 3000m steeplechase finals under dramatic circumstances in Doha on Tuesday. Annu, who on Monday smashed her own national record with a 62.43m throw, could only produce a best of 61.12m in the final round competition on Tuesday. The 27-year-old Annu opened with a 59.25m before coming up with efforts of 61.12m and 60.20m which put her among the top eight after three attempts and gave her three more throws. However, she could not improve upon her second round bid of 61.12m, coming up with 60.40m, 58.49m and 57.93m, to finish at eighth out of the 12 finalists.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Kelsey Lee Barber, won the gold with a final round throw of 66.56m while the Chinese duo of Asian Games champion Liu Shiying and Asian champion Lyu Huihui took the silver and bronze with efforts of 65.88m and 65.49m respectively. Annu will, however, held her head high as she had become the first Indian woman to reach the javelin throw final in the World Championships. Earlier, another national record holder Avinash became the first Indian man to qualify for a track event final in the World Championships under dramatic circumstances.
He initially failed to make the cut despite bettering his own national record in an eventful first round heat but was later included among the men's 3000m steeplechase finalists after the Athletics Federation of India protested that he was obstructed by other athletes during the race. Avinash clocked 8 minute 25.23 seconds, bettering his earlier national record of 8:28.94, to finish seventh in heat number 3 and 20th overall out of 44 athletes who completed the race. But he was involved in two incidents during the race that blocked his path and thereby slowing him down for no fault of his.
The AFI later filed an appeal, claiming that Avinash was obstructed by other athletes during the race, with the request that he be advanced to the final round. The race referee, after examining video footages, agreed that Avinash was significantly obstructed on two occasions. India's protest was accepted and under Rule 163.2 (Obstruction), Avinash was included for the final. "We filed an appeal and we have got a favourable decision. So, Avinash will be in the final, he has been included among the finalists," AFI Planning Commission Chairman told PTI.
The world governing body IAAF confirmed Avinash's qualification for the final by including him among the finalists in the official results. There was no change in sable's position but he has been added as the 16th competitor for the final race to be run on Friday. The top three in each of the three heats and the next six fastest qualify for the final race. Both the incidents were triggered by reigning junior world champion Takele Nigate of Ethiopia. In the first, Sable had to jump over another competitor as four-five athletes at the rear fell over each other. Midway during the race, Nigate bumped into an obstacle just in front of Sable.
The Indian had to virtually climb up the obstacle as he was blocked by the Ethiopian, thereby losing crucial time. Despite slowing down due to the two incidents, the 24-year-old Sable ran more than three seconds better than his earlier national record of 8:28.94 which he had clocked in March this year during the Federation Cup. Sable had won a silver on the same tracks in April in the Asian Championships with a time of 8:30.19.