Thursday, 28 November 2013

Khade eyes record gold haul

Arup Chatterjee, TNN Feb 13, 2011, 01.48am IST
RANCHI: The euphoria of an Asian Games bronze is only a warm glow now. For Virdhawal Khade, it's time to move on and aim for higher. When the Maharashtra swimmer takes the plunge at the 34th National Games on Sunday, it will be another start.
"I had taken a month's vacation after the Guangzhou Games, and have resumed training for only about a month now. The National Games will be a good way to start my preparations for the London Olympics," Khade told TOI at the Beer Budhu Bhagat Aquatic Stadium on Saturday.
Khade's bronze in the 50 m butterfly at Guangzhou was India's first medal from the pool at an Asian Games after 24 years but it is his exploits at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune that the 19-year-old cherishes even more. "I was swimming in front of my home crowd and produced some times (49.47 in the 100 freestyle and 1:49.8 in the 200) that I haven't touched even once in these three years," he said, adding: "I feed off pressure. Just love to carry that extra burden of expectations."
But with all those Chinese swimmers around, the Asian Games bronze was surely a big high? "It was a nice feeling but, then, I've always believed I am as good as them if not better," he said, the confidence coming through without any cockiness. " China and Japan invest a lot of money in the sport. It's time India did too. I think the results will show," he added.
Khade is participating in a whopping 10 events at these Games, a big jump from the three he took part in at the Guwahati Games four years ago. Is it a help or a hindrance to be involved in so many different styles? "Actually, it helps because you don't get bored doing the same thing all the time," explained Khade, who trains in Bengaluru under well known coach Nihar Amin.
Freestyle over 50, 100 and 200 are on his radar for next year's London Games. "Freestyle has been my strength but I'm doing well in butterfly of late," he quickly added. The bronze at the Asian Games will have surely got him more interested in the 'fly'.

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