JAKARTA, Aug 21: Virdhawal Khade bettered his national record but missed the bronze medal in the men�s 50m freestyle by a whisker, finishing fourth in the final at the Asian Games here today.
After finishing third fastest in overall heats, Khade was a medal contender but missed it by hundredth of a second. He clocked 22.47s while Japan�s bronze winner Shunichi Nakao timed 22.46.
China�s Hexin Yu (22.11) won gold ahead of Katsumi Nakamura (22.20).
In the morning session, 26-year-old Khade marginally bettered his own long-standing national record by clocking 22.43s which was a better effort than his 22.52s, set in August 2009 at Asian Age group swimming championships in Japan.
�The national record does not matter to me now. I would have been happier if I timed 25s and won a medal. It unfortunately did not happen today,� Khade, who had won a bronze at the Guangzhou Games in 2010, said.
Khade returned to swimming only 18 months back after remaining out of action due to his job commitment with the Maharashtra government. He is posted as a Tehsildar at Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar, which manages a social welfare scheme.
�It�s strange but the government rule states that I have to do it (job) properly, so I can�t miss office to train.�
But if swimming is his passion, why can�t he pursue a career in sport?
�It�s simple. Financial issues. I can�t invest from my own pocket. Money is not coming into swimming from anywhere. Had I been in TOPS, today�s result would have been different. I would have trained better. When I was posted to Malvan, there was no swimming pool. I was there for two years.�
When pointed out that to be considered for TOPS, he has to compete regularly internationally and produce results, he quipped: �But I did compete at the CWG (in Gold Coast). From there the funding would have helped. I would have just trained harder without worrying about my job.�
Khade though is pleased with his improvement after making a comeback to the pool.
�After nearly 10 years (eight years), I am competing at such a big event. I was also at the CWG but there, I could not perform to my potential. I had timed 23.11s there, so it is half a second fast. Hopefully, I will be able to cut down more and get a medal soon.� � PTI