As soon as she touched the finish line to beat favourite Maana Patel in 50m freestyle, Avantika Chawan turned around and gave a thumbs up to her coach Virdhawal Khade.
A smile broke out on Khade's face, who till then was standing expressionless in the stands.
It was a special moment for Khade, who tasted success as a coach for the first time in the National Games after having won multiple medals as a competitor in the National Games before.
Khade, one of India's greatest swimmers and an Asian Games bronze medallist, is enjoying his life as a coach.
For the past year, Khade has been mentoring and training young swimmers at the Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai. Khade's tryst with coaching started accidentally when the regular coach at the Khar Gymkhana quit suddenly, and the swimmers were left without a mentor. Khade, who trains at the Khar Gymkhana, began helping the swimmers as a stop-gap arrangement.
"'My wife Rujuta was helping the girls initially, and after sometime I got involved with the senior lot and helped them in their training before some competition. They liked my approach. Since then, I have been training them for the past year. I still haven't decided to become a full-time coach. But I enjoy coaching. It is something I am likely to do in the future."
"There are couple of good swimmers in the pack. Avantika is a promising swimmer, and she is the national champion. It didn't surprise me when she won the gold medal in 50m freestyle here, beating Maana Patel. But I am not happy with her timing though she set a games record here. You will hear more about her in the future. It is a good feeling when your trainee wins a gold. I am enjoying their success," said Khade.
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