Virdhawal Khade

People often find their comforting space distinctively. Some find it in music, some find it in dance, some find it in cooking whereas some find it in sports. The one thing and activity which soothes your mind and calms your heart is the thing which has the maximum potency to bring out the best in you. This time we unfold the story of Indian Swimmer Mr. Virdhawal, who trusted his satisfaction and hard work to speak for his persona.

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Mr. Virdhawal is an Indian Swimmer from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. 1997 was the year which marked the beginning of his decorous learning period. He was just 4 years old when he started learning swimming. Mr. Virdhawal’s parents always wanted him to engage in some sports and his father who was having a sports background as a national basketball player contemplated that swimming will be something contrasting as compared to the regular sports and activities. He had been to a summer camp in 1995 when the coach there sensed the familiarity he had with water. The then coach suggested his parents to enroll him for professional training for swimming. 

It has always been the adrenaline rush of a competition and the desire to achieve the best every time which has kept Mr. Virdhawal intact. Even though swimming was supposedly a lonely sport, but it eventually gave him peace. Every time he used to win, he used to get motivated even more. All those medals and awards, till date inspire him. He serves as a perfect example wherein; you are your own true inspiration and self-motivation can be your biggest asset. 

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But as one finishes off with the most savoring recipe of biryani, along with the beautifully marinated pieces of chicken that it is credited for goes in the evergreen hated cardamom as well. One never attains the praise worthy success without retries, failures and halts. Mr. Virdhawal has an undying desire for winning till date. Initially he used to lose and that too many at times. It used to exasperate him, seeing the efforts and money his father was putting into the sport. The time during 2003-2004 was not generating for him but rather more inclined towards defeats. And at a young age, it is difficult for anyone to absorb in more failure than victories. But his father remained with him even in those hard times and gave him just the right support that he needed. As his father himself is from sports background, he had a fair knowledge about the importance of ups and downs. He taught Mr. Virdhawal on how to deal with failures, captivate the positivity in each and every scenario and the significance of balanced stance of mental depth. 

At a critical point of his career, Mr. Virdhawal faced a big jolt of politics in sports. Having made for the selection time for the Olympic games 2012 along with 3 other swimmers; a strange decision was made . A fifth swimmer was selected to represent India at the Olympic games 2012. It is the mental challenges which presents more constrictions than the physical hardships. But as taught by his father, Mr. Virdhawal always made it a point to search for positivity and move on for the next opportunity in hand rather than to wait for something paradoxical. 

Mr. Virdhawal is in a state where he is thinking about taking part in the upcoming Olympics. According to him, “it has already been 3 months where they haven’t practiced due to the lockdown and Olympics is just a year away”. Even though in other countries, qualifiers have started practicing for the Olympics but in India the gates haven’t opened till date for the same. He thinks that if he is not sure about being able to give in his 100%, he would rather not take part in it. As, “he is not representing just himself on that world wide platform but his own country”.

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It is frequently deciphered that being a national level sports person is all about glamour. But rarely they observe the depths of struggles which many of them have to hold up to. Nevertheless, the struggles are always rivers which can be crossed one way or the other not alone but with the help of someone in the same boat. In Mr. Virdhawal’s story, his confidantes have been his parents and his coaches. He has been trained by 4 coaches and the learnings he received from all of them was different yet has helped him become the person who he is today. Coach Mr. Rajendra Prasad was the one who started his coaching and taught him the basics, followed by coach Mr. Shrikant Kamble who trained him for competitive swimming. Then he won the first national medal with the help of coach Mr. Suresh Kumar followed by training under the guidance of coach Mr. Nihar Ameen and coach Mr. Subodh Dandke

After a hard trek, the sunrise if worth the watch. Mr. Virdhawal bagged 6 gold medals and broke and re-made 3 game records in South Asian Games 2006. He manifested an Indian National Record in Beijing Summer Olympics 2008 in 100m freestyle. In 2008 itself, he won 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals, made 4 new national records and 3 game records in Commonwealth Youth Games, India. He won 3 gold medals On November 16, 2010 and re-created the history by winning the gold medal in 50m butterfly in Asian Games after 24 years. Mr. Virdhawal was honoured with Arjuna Award in 2011 in swimming followed by Shiv Chhatrapati Award in 2013. This Indian swimmer has made the nation proud world wide and has earned the recognition and awards, to name but a few. Recently he got the opportunity to experience the beautiful journey of marriage. He was married to Mrs. Rujuta Khade who is also know as the fastest female Indian Swimmer and together they are know as the “fastest swimming couple”.

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He desires to coach the budding Indian talents in the field of swimming for Olympics and wishes to share the knowledge that he has learned up till now. One keeps on searching for the ray of hope everywhere but every time forgets that the fire is within and just needs to be aired to pike up. Stop criticising yourself and start motivating yourself, you are always a work in progress. And even if you win, still strive to improve yourself.!

A special message from Mr. Virdhwal for all the readers, “work hard, as only good things take a lot of time. Failure is natural and a part of the learning process. What matters is how you handle it so that nothing can stop you from accomplishing your goals.”

 - Team Satyavachan

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