Asian Games bronze medallist Virdhawal Khade on Tuesday pulled out of the two-month training camp being organised by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) in Dubai for its Olympic hopefuls, citing personal reasons. The 28-year-old was supposed to travel to Dubai for the camp along with fellow swimmers Srihari Nataraj and Khushagra Rawat. The camp is expected to start either by the end of this week or next week.
“I decided against it (attending the camp) due to personal reasons,” Khade told PTI. While training has resumed for sports like athletics, hockey, and boxing within the country after easing of lockdown restrictions, the Olympic hopeful swimmers have been forced to move to Dubai due to a continuing bar on opening of pools here.
Earlier, the SFI said Khade, who works as a Tehsildar with Maharashtra government, was awaiting permission of leave from his employer. “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 had said earlier in the day.
Not entirely correct . I have backed out because of personal reasons . https://t.co/5czpzui7IP
— Virdhawal Khade OLY (@virdhawalkhade) August 25, 2020
Nataraj, Rawat and coach A C Jayarajan reached Dubai on Tuesday afternoon. They will be joined by 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 had been staying there ever since. “Sajan Prakash will also be reaching today,” Chokshi informed.
Prakash, who had already resumed training in Thailand, said he decided to attend the camp to be closer to his physiotherapist and coach Pradeep S Kumar, who are both in Dubai. “I wanted to get physio support and my long time physio would help me with it and my coach Pradeep sir is there too. So, I decided to train in Dubai,” Prakash said.
All three swimmers underwent COVID-19 tests on arrival and are currently in quarantine 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.
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 pool since March 25 when the first coronavirus-forced lockdown was announced.