Avinash Sable was adjudged Sportsman of the Year in Track & Field at the 2023 Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Monday.

When Sable won a silver medal in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase event at the Commonwealth Games in August, he ended Kenyan hegemony in the event, becoming the first athlete outside the East African nation to make the podium since 1998. Sable clocked a time of 8:11.20 in Birmingham which was the ninth time he had set a national record in the steeplechase and the third time he had done so in 2022.

“Jai hind. Thank you to The Hindu Group and Sportstar for felicitating me with this award. I’d like to thank the Indian Army because they turned me into a sportsperson from a soldier. In 2012, I had joined the army as a soldier and in 2016, I entered sports. I came into sports just because of the Army. After that, AFI, SAI and TOPS and my sponsor JSW supported me a lot. I hadn’t even thought that I could even win a national medal. Winning a medal (silver) at the Commonwealth Games last year gave me confidence that I can win a medal at the world level… I will try to win a medal at the 2024 Olympics for the country,” Sable said.

He also set a new national record in the 5,000m event at the Sound Running Track Meet in May, breaking the 28-year-old record of Bahadur Singh set in 1992.

Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, chess great Viswanathan Anand, former India football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Aparna Popat are the members of the Sportstar Aces 2023 jury.

The event is supported by IDFC First Bank, Indian Oil, India Cements, United India, Ramaiah University, Experimenta Science Center GD Naidu Charity, Finolex Pipes, LIC, BPCL, Samsonite, Big Basket, Nippon Paint, CRICHQ, Wordswork, NewsX and Casagrand.