Saturday, May 31, 2008

Virdhawal Khade strikes it rich at the Malaysia Open and qualifies for the Beijing Olympic Games in two more events

Virdhawal Khade, who last year became the first and the youngest swimmer – at the age of 15yrs – to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games, went on to strike it rich by winning three gold medals (with new records) – 50, 100m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly – and two silver medals – 200 and 400m Freestyle – at the 51st MILO/PRAM Malaysia Invitation Open at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1-4th May 2008.

Virdhawal, who was competing in the latest Speedo LZR Racer full body swim suit, went on to become the first Indian swimmer to swim faster than the Olympic Qualifying time in three events the 50, 100 and 200m Freestyle.

Commenting on the LZR Racer Virdhawal said, “I felt really good in it. The suit held me really firm giving me solid core stability. I felt like a spear in the water and it made me more confident of swimming fast”.

He also created new National records in four out of the five events he took part in – 100, 200 and 400m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly.

His times were:
50m Freestyle – 23.03sec (Gold, Meet Record)
100m Freestyle – 50.66sec (Gold, Meet Record and National Record)
200m Freestyle – 1min 51.65sec (Silver, National Record)
400m Freestyle – 4min 01.87sec (Silver, National Record)
50m Butterfly – 24.91sec (Gold, Meet Record and National Record)

For Virdhawal, this meet came at the end of a three month training stint in Australia where he trained under his coach Nihar Ameen at The Southport School. Virdhawal and Nihar’s training and competition costs were sponsored by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports under the National Sports Development Fund and Mittal Champions Trust respectively.

Virdhawal will next be seen in action at the 4th Singapore National Swimming Championships from 4-8th June at the Singapore Sports School. This will be a train-through meet for him in lead up to FINA World Youth Swimming Championships in Monterrey, Mexico in July.