Khade breaks 24-yr jinx in Asiad pool

first_imgVirdhawal Khade ended India’s 24-year-long wait for a medal from the swimming pool at the Asian Games when he won bronze in the 50 metres butterfly, clocking 24.37 seconds at the Aoti aquatic complex on Tuesday. At the Seoul Asian Games in 1986, Delhi man Khajan Singh last won a silver medal for India in the 200m butterfly event.There are some similarities between Khade and Khajan, but before dwelling on it, let’s savour the moment and admire Khade’s effort. In a closely-contested final, the 19-year-old from Kolhapur made excellent last-length efforts to edge out Korean Doohee Jeong after a disappointing finish on Monday in the 50m freestyle event.”It’s a moment I want to relive and cherish for a long time. But I am competing again tomorrow in the 100m freestyle so the celebrations can wait. Nevertheless, this medal will do a world of good to me personally and for swimming in India,” said Khade.The Indian sensation was quick to add at the post-match conference: “I need more support from the government to continue with swimming. I have to spend time abroad regularly for training and I cannot do it without the sports ministry help.” Even before the final, the Chinese domination with the Japanese and Koreans to follow was beyond doubt.The only question mark was whether Khade would be able to overcome Monday’s loss and concentrate on the race. After all, he also had to make amends for the lack of medals at the Commonwealth Games. Indeed, it would have been a difficult task even for a senior pro, but the teenager put his disappointment behind to finish well despite a slow start.advertisementUntil the 35-metre stage, it looked to be a touch-and-go affair with the Korean and Khade almost going neckand-neck. The tall and strapping Kolhapur boy, however, seemed determined to save his best for last. In the morning heats, Khade had topped his group with a time of 24.56.China’s Jiawei Zhou’s won gold at 23.66 while Japan’s Masayuki Kishida won the silver at 24.13. Khade’s personal coach Nihar Ameen fumbled for words as it took time for reality to sink in. “It was a great effort. Winning a medal in the same event as Khajan Singh 24 years ago is really great. With this medal today and the way he is swimming here, we can hope for another medal tomorrow (in 100m freestyle),” said Ameen.Knowing Khade’s potential – he was the youngest Indian to win an Olympic spot in 100m free in Beijing with a personal best of 50.7 seconds – everybody looked up to him to break the jinx at Asian Games. But in a short race like the 50m event, things can go awry as it happened on Monday. Khade, however, had predicted this morning that he would re-write history.In fact, he said he was aiming for the silver. Coming back to the similarities, one thing that has been proved beyond doubt is that sustained training abroad yields results. Khajan had done it in the eighties when Australian Eric Arnold had trained him and Khade has spent time abroad regularly. Khade also gave full credit to his strict training schedule prescribed by Dave Salo, a reputed coach in the US.The 6 feet 3 inch-tall Khade, who trains at Bangalore, shaves off his torso to avoid friction. “It’s a painful experience, but something I have to go through as a matter of routine during competitions,” Khade had said a couple of days ago.But after Tuesday evening’s triumph, the national record holder in 100m free and 50m butterfly would surely say it was worth all the pain. For his part, the legendary Khajan told Mail Today from New Delhi that it was a proud moment for the country. “This is a long-awaited medal and I think Vir has made the country proud by winning a medal in a very strong field,” Khajan said.Khajan praised the youngster’s hardwork in the build-up to the Games. “He is a hardworking boy and I always had belief in him. I always used to say that he is a man with great potential and now, with a medal at the Asian Games, he has justified my belief in him. With age on his side, I think he will get stronger and will achieve more success in future,” he said.Khajan also believes Khade’s tally at this Games can swell. “He has a couple of more events – the first being a 100m freestyle tomorrow – and I am expecting him to return with more medals from China,” he said.advertisementBimoljitgets bronzeIndian wushu players had a good day at the office on Tuesday with Bimoljit Singh Mayanglambam winning the bronze and Sandhyarani Devi Wangkhem assuring India of at least a silver in the men’s and women’s sanshou 60kg events respectively at the Asian Games in Guangzhou. Bimoljit lost his semi-final bout to Mohsen Mohammadseifi of Iran 0-2 but still bagged a bronze for the country at the Nansha Gymnasium.Sandhyarani, meanwhile, beat Paloy Barckkham of Laos 2-0 in the semi-finals of the women’s sanshou 60 kg event to assure India for a silver. She will next face Azadpour Khadijeh of Iran in the summit clash. The Indian had beaten Moria Manalu 2-0 in the quarter-finals on Monday.India spike past VietnamIndia smashed their way past Vietnam with a straight-set victory to enter the second phase of the Asian Games volleyball competition in Guangzhou on Tuesday. India blanked their rivals 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 in 68 minutes to notch up their second victory in three matches in the Group B league. They opened their campaign with a 3-1 triumph over Kazakhstan before losing to strong South Korea 0-3.Led by captain Sanjay Banwari, the Indians captured the opening set in 23 minutes and then took one minute less to win the second and go 2-0 up in a one-sided battle that saw superb spiking from the left and from the back court by Naveen Manidurai. Vietnam gave India a good fight in the third set but Banwari and the tall Gurchand Singh formed an effective block at the net and Manidurai settled the issue.last_img