Virdhawal Khade has clearly stated that he will start training once pools are open in India, following his pullout from the national camp which is now underway in Dubai. Swimming pools have been shut down in India since March 25 - the day when the government imposed lockdown owing to the pandemic.
Sports activities have collectively taken a huge blow since the lockdown was imposed on March 25, but many of the facilities have opened as part of the unlock procedures. But, the Indian government is yet to give a green light to swimming pools, which meant swimmers have not entered a pool since five months.
After repeated requests from the Swimming Federation of India (SFI), the government arranged a national camp for elite swimmers, along with national coaches in Dubai. But, a few days before the camp, Virdhawal Khade opted out of the event, citing personal reasons - mainly due to his commitment towards his government job. As per recent reports, the swimmer will start training only when pools open in India.
“I am not retiring. Whenever pools open in India I will be back to training. I am still working out at home, keeping myself fit. I am happy with the fact that I can commit more time to work and family and prepare myself beyond swimming,” said Virdhawal Khade, to PTI.
“I haven’t trained for five months. I went from being the fittest I have ever been in my life to absolute zero. Five months is a long time. Until June I was really positive, I was keeping myself fit and keeping focus mentally but after that I went on a really negative spiral. I started questioning myself,” added the athlete.
Khade already attained the Olympic ‘B’ qualification last year with a timing of 22.44 seconds in the 50m freestyle category. The Kohlapur-based swimmer needs to clock 22.01 to book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics next year, but he is not too worried about the Games, with no assurance that the event will actually take place next year.
“I had to really think if it was possible for me to qualify for the Olympics and even if I did qualify there is also the question of if the Olympics are even happening or not. Keeping all the uncertainty in mind and considering I have been married for three years now and I am almost 30, I have to plan for my future,” concluded Khade.