Dreaming of big splash

Khade wants to leave his imprint on the world stage


Ace Indian swimmer Virdhawal Khade wants to capitalise on the experience gained during his  training stint in various European nations. DH photo / Janardhan BK

India’s swimming star Virdhawal Khade had struggled to find personal best timings in the Rome World Championship in July. The Kolhapur lad, however, put behind him that no-show to burst into form at the Asian Age Group meet in Tokyo earlier this month, bagging four gold medals with championship records to end the season on a high.

Now, Khade will take month-long break from training and competitions to write his board exams. He spoke to Deccan Herald about the European training, preparation for 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and various other topics. Excerpts:

How good was the training-cum-competition stint in Europe?

It was a totally different experience for me. I never thought training abroad would be that much helpful. I had a first hand experience of altitude training in Spain. I am sure that will help me a lot when competing at the highest level.

Bio-mechanics test, stroke analysis and informations regarding diet have been given to me by the experts there. There were positive and negative inputs about my strokes. I have to make some changes to the strokes which cannot be changed suddenly. I was also advised to make changes gradually. I got the chance to implement some of the ideas soon in the Schwimmfest Invitational meet in Germany with much success.

You were not at your best of form in Rome meet...what went wrong?

Yes. I wasn’t keeping well a week before the Championship. Obviously, it affected my performance there. It doesn’t have anything thing to do with pressure. I have been in top level competitions for some time now and it was my second Worlds.

But I put my Rome disappointment behind in Tokyo where I won four gold with new meet records. I was surprised by the timings I found in the butterfly events, because I didn’t practice it hard to swam that fast. So, from now onwards I am going to give stress to butterfly also.

So where does your priority lie, Olympics or World meets?

I would say Olympics and World championship are different events. The level of competitions and pressure are different. Olympics is such a big stage that all the athletes want to be there, and they are willing to make all the effort for it. One notable difference I noticed in Rome was the swimmers were much faster than Beijing. The athletes were seen much more relaxed in Rome. There was lot of emotion in Beijing.

FINA has decided to go back to the traditional suits from January... your take?

I think it is a good move. While I say that a suit doesn’t make any difference. It is talent and hard work of an athlete that count. Hi-tech suits make you swim faster whereas with ordinary suits you will be slightly slower. I never used high-tech suits so the rule change will not have any impact on me.

Can you detail your preparations for the Commonwealth Games?

The last four months I have been training and competing. I am going to take a break now for writing my class 12 exams which is scheduled for September. I will start training in October. There is one-year after that for CWG which is decent time for preparation. There are a couple of international meets in between and training hard might bring out the results I wanted. I will take part in the Asian Indoor championship in Vietnam in October and also in the National Games in Jharkhand in November.

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