Asian Games 2018: Khade Sr slams lack of government help for son's medal miss

Aug 22, 2018, 09:30 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Unfortunately, Virdhawal Khade missed out on a historic podium finish by one-hundredth of a second leaving his father Vikram distraught at the Asian Games 2018

Asian Games 2018: Khade Sr slams lack of government help for son's medal miss
Virdhawal Khade's father Vikram at the GBK Sports Complex yesterday. Pic/Ashwin Ferro and India’s Virdhawal Khade after competing in the 50m freestyle final yesterday. Pic/PTI

A tall strapping man was on the edge of his seat as India's Virdhawal Khade attempted to repeat history by winning what would have been only India's second swimming medal in 32 years at an Asian Games yesterday. Unfortunately, Khade missed out on a historic podium finish by one-hundredth of a second leaving his father Vikram distraught.

Khade clocked 22.47
seconds to agonisingly miss out on the bronze medal which went to Japan's Shunichi Nakao, who clocked 22.66s. The silver also went to Japan's Katsumi Nakamura (22.20s), while China's Yu Hexin claimed the gold medal with 22.11s. The doting father was not disappointed with his son, but with the Indian government that has left the athlete to drown in a pool of problems.

No attention paid
“After Viru won the bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, the Indian government did not to do anything. Had they sent him abroad for training or given him better facilities, things could have been different,” Khade Sr told mid-day yesterday.

“He should have been sent abroad because the water in the swimming pools in India is just too cold. In Bangalore, where he trains, the water is so cold that you cannot even touch it, then how can we expect him to swim in it and perform well in competitions. This is horrible. I don't think we have any temperature controlled swimming pools in India,” said Khade Sr.

Bringing up a swimmer in a society where the sport is nowhere in popularity was a tough task, said Khade Sr. “It's difficult to bring up a sportsman in India because the government recognition comes only after you win a medal. Till then, no one knows a sportsman or what he is doing and the sportsman has to do it all on his own.”

A ray of hope
Khade has had to spend long hours at work in the last few years and was even posted to Malwan (a town in Sindhudurg district) where there was not even a swimming pool to train in. There is still hope though, felt Khade's dad.

“I've read in newspapers that the government has introduced a Khelo India scheme where promising athletes will be given Rs 50,000 per month by the government to train and hone their skills. Currently, Viru is a Class I officer with the Maharashtra government and though he was given six months off to train for these Games, he needs more time off work to get better results. He still has two more events [100m freestyle and 50m butterfly] left and he is confident of doing well,” concluded Khade Sr.

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