Asian Games bronze medallist Virdhawal Khade could miss the two-month training camp organised by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) for its Olympic hopefuls as he still awaits permission to leave from his employer, the Maharashtra government.
Khade, who is a Tehsildar with Maharashtra government, has already been denied permission to attend the camp once. However, the 28-year-old has applied again. "Right now it looks like he will be skipping the camp until the permission comes. He had asked for it sometime back now and was denied initially. He is trying to get it again," SFI secretary general Monal Chokshi told PTI.
"He might have to miss this particular stint if he doesn't get the permission," he added. Srihari Nataraj, Kushagra Rawat and coach A C Jayarajan flew out to Dubai on Tuesday morning. They will be joined by swimmer Sajan Prakash, who is a new entrant in the list of swimmers slated to attend the camp.
Prakash had travelled to Phuket in February to train for swimming meets and has been staying there since. "Sajan Prakash will also be reaching today," Chokshi informed. All three swimmers will undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival and will be subsequently quarantined for four days before hitting the pool.
"All of them took a COVID test before leaving and they will be tested again when they land. After that there will be a four-day quarantine," Chokshi said. The swimmers will be training at Dubai's Aqua Nation Swimming Academy. Apart from Jayarajan, the swimmers will also have the assistance of the national coach Pradeep S Kumar, who is already present at the academy in Dubai.
Six swimmers - Nataraj, Khade, Prakash, Rawat, Aryan Makhija and Advait Page - have achieved the 'B' qualification in their respective events for the postponed-Olympics and are hoping to make the 'A' standard. While Makhija and Page have resumed training, Nataraj, Khade and Rawat have not entered the pools since March 25 when the first coronavirus-forced lockdown was announced.