India’s Virdhawal Khade after winning the gold medal in the men’s 200-metre medley in Guwahati on Wednesday. (PTI)
Guwahati, Feb. 10: Age is not on 24-year-old Rio Olympics qualifier Virdhawal Khade’s side. But he is training hard to add to the medal tally.
Khade said he is going through a strategic fitness regime to make his body fit enough to compete in the 50m events in the Olympics.
“I am concentrating more on the 50m relays as I think, with age, my stamina is also decreasing,” the former Asian Games gold medallist said. “I am training very hard to make my body strong enough to face my foreign competitors in the Olympics. I am putting in efforts to swim faster and push my body to the limits instead of increasing my stamina,” he said.
Khade, who was in the frontline of India’s 12th South Asian Games swimming team, was beaten by 19-year-old Sri Lankan ace Mathew Abeysinghe on Sunday in the 50m freestyle at Zakir Hussain Aquatics Complex in Sarusajai Sports Complex here. The national team, however, rode piggyback the underrated P.S. Madhu and 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist Sandeep Sejwal and clinched gold in most of the events.
“I had an advantage as the relay started and I was leading for quite a long time, but I lost focus and finished second,” Khade told The Telegraph.
Khade also partially blames himself for lack of practice before the Games. “I had only been training for the past six to eight months in Mumbai before the Games, but I hope I will be ready for the Olympics,” he said.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Khade was the youngest Indian swimmer in the contingent. Even though he did not qualify for the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle, he did finish first in his heat (heat 3) and set a new personal best of 50.07 seconds, placing himself 42nd overall. In the 2007 National Games here, Khade made a clean sweep of nine gold medals.