Swimmer Virdhawal Khade confident of qualifying for Tokyo Games
Japan's Katsumi Nakamura silver (22.20) and Shunichi Nakao took the bronze (22.46). Khade, who won a historic bronze for India after 24 years in the 50m butterfly event at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games
Maharashtra swimmer Virdhawal Khade, who narrowly missed a bronze at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games in the men's 50m freestyle by one-hundredth of a second, is confident that he will earn Olympic qualification at the FINA World Championships that gets underway on July 12 in Gwanju, South Korea.
In Jakarta, China's Yu Hexin won gold, clocking 22.11 seconds.
Japan's Katsumi Nakamura silver (22.20) and Shunichi Nakao took the bronze (22.46). Khade, who won a historic bronze for India after 24 years in the 50m butterfly event at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, this time finished fourth (22.47).
At Gwanju, Khade needs to achieve a stiff Olympic qualification mark of 22.01, and for this, he has increased the distance he covers in the pool. "The target for this Worlds is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. My current best is 22.43 but I'm confident I can achieve the qualification timing here. I often travel to Bangalore to train under my coach Nihar Ameen. I have increased the distance I was doing inside the pool. Last year, I did 6km/per day and now I do 8km. I'm a lot fitter too because I have been training continuously after the Asian Games. In Mumbai, I strictly follow Nihar sir's training schedule at Khar Gymkhana," said Khade, 27, who is employed as a Tehsildar in Andheri.
Khade, a Speedo athlete, is grateful to his boss Mumbai Suburban District Collector Sachin Kurve for permitting time off to train.
"Earlier this year, I spoke to Kurve sir about my training issues and he has been very supportive by relaxing my work timings. Now, I don't have to attend office daily, and that has helped me focus my time and energy towards training for the Olympics," Khade explained.
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