With series of Medals, Arjuna Award and Olympic qualifier, this Indian swimmer is riding big waves – The Story of Virdhawal Khade
29th Aug 1991
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
Swimming - Sport
Virdhawal Khade, the YOUNGEST Indian Swimmer to qualify for Beijing 2008 Olympics completely depends on hard work and dedication for creating new success stories each time. He is a clear example of discipline and focus with his immense care from the food he eats to the tournaments where he represents India. This young Indian is an inspiration to many who are at times clueless on which profession to take up for a steady progress trend.
Team imd1 was happy to match wavelengths with this talented young enthusiastic swimmer. Read on to know his story!
We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?
It began in 1995 when my father who has a sports background decided to involve me into swimming. It started off quite casually with a summer camp. The coach who taught me to swim noticed that I had a good feel for the water and I seemed to learn quite fast. On his advice, we continued to pursue and I won my first medal at a small meet in 1996.
Quote for Life
You are what you eat
Food I Love
All food in moderation
Food I Hate
Had I not been a Swimmer then...
I"d have probably done something good in academics, Being an IAS officer was my childhood dream
Like Vacations at
Anywhere I can Scuba dive or go for a Jungle Safari
Favorite Pass time
PS4 or watching football or watching a movie
“It"s not about how hard you hit, it"s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That"s how winning happens…”
Favorite Movies / Series
Difficult! I tend to watch all movies in theatres, hence the favorites keep changing
Favorite Actor / Actress
What has been your success mantra?
Hard work is the only key to success. But lately, I have realized it takes much more than just hard work. Success of a sportsman depends on what he does outside the sport area. The most important motto is you are what you eat. What you feed your body as if you are filling up the fuel, it makes a huge difference to what your body Hard and smart work is the essential for success.
What were the hardships & hurdles you encountered and how did you overcome them?
Life of a sportsman is usually quite rough. It"s the peak points in your career that motivate you to push through the rough patches and that makes the journey memorable. I can recollect financial challenges which I had overcome gradually.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
One should learn from failures. Everyone at some point in life would face failure or defeat. A strong character is built from learning and improving. People can always keep telling you to learn from but it is possible and helpful only if you practically follow it. The best teacher of a sportsman is his failure. Everyone on the planet has gone through it and a true champion is the one who has learnt the most from his failures and then converted the loss to a remarkable win.
Do you think swimming and its learning"s can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
Yes, definitely! I think it is a great form of meditation and a sport that teaches you discipline. When you"re in the pool you are only left with your own thoughts. You can"t hear the outside world. It is a great way to spend time with yourself
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
Initially it was my parents and my coaches. As a child, I was never motivated or very serious to be a professional sportsman as I knew it takes immense hard work and dedication. I used to see my friends in school having a much easier life . But later, I realized I had a chance to do something great for my family and my country through swimming. That motivated me as I grew up and I continued with swimming.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I am the 1”?
The time I qualified for the Olympics 2007. I was then preparing for my Class 10 board exams and the world championships were clashing at the same time. Luckily, my parents and coaches discussed and told me to choose Olympics over my studies. I am thankful to them to help me participate and transform my life. That moment, I felt, “Yes, I Am The 1”!
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
I am fortunate to have learnt from the best coaches at the right time of my career. Since 1995 till date, I have had good swim coaches like Mr Nihar Ameen and Mr Pradeep Kumar. Without proper guidance I feel it is not possible for an athlete or even a student to succeed
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in swimming?
Systematic training is very important. Not just for swimming, but for any sport. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Training helps you plan and execute the best traits.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
Age is a secondary factor whereas the right attitude and hunger to win is primary requirement.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in swimming. What"s your take?
Coaches need to be open-minded and accept new things for athletes to improve. Patience is also essential along with training for peak performance. Technology is a good enabler for encouraging international level performance.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru" for getting formal training for swimming?
The best coaches in swimming I feel are Mr Nihar Ameen who has been my coach since 2005 and Mr Pradeep Kumar who is the National coach for Indian swimmers. Their techniques and specialties vary. One can select the guru based on style compatibility and preferences.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for swimming in India?
Fortunately, we have world class coaches. We can improve in the field of training and other facilities required for swimmers. Our natural diet isn"t really the best for swimmers. Parents need to be much more aware about food habits and try to adapt to them for child"s nutrition and balance. We also need to provide bigger talent pool of swimmers for the coaches. For this, a large number of children need to be encouraged to join this sport.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of swimming in remote parts of India?
The state governments should work towards good sports facilities at least in every district to begin with. The same can then be provided at taluka levels and so on. This will create employment for coaches, maintenance staff and also encourage athletes from villages to participate and make the country proud.
In your opinion, what are the basic key traits apart from formal training that make “imd1”?
The will to succeed is very important before starting any formal training.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
Sport is the way forward. Parents should get a little braver. India is producing a lot of athletes in various sports winning with pride and making money too. If athletes like us can make it, it is possible for their kids too. They need to have courage and patience.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…
As I recollect, there were many things that I could have done better in terms of applying what I learnt during training. I do have a few regrets but that is past and can"t be changed. I am trying my best to consistently improve my performance now.
How can one identify & encourage talent in the family?
Enroll all kids in sports. Anything is a good sport to begin with and generate interest & sportsmanship
Any other thoughts you want to share?
Hard work is the key to achieve what you desire. Help your friends and let"s join hands in shaping India"s progress!