For India's No 1 swimmer Vir Dhawal Khade, "Swimming is a business."
The fastest swimmer of the country and the 'Golden' boy of the swimming events at the 34th National Games, Maharashtra's Khade is very clear about his perception about the sport.
After winning gold in the 50m freestyle with record time of 23.08s on Tuesday, Khade was forthright about how he looked at why swimming for him was a lucrative option.
"I am into swimming for money. To pursue any sport nowadays is an expensive proposition for which you do need a lot of money," a candid Khare told PTI-Bhasha in an interview.
Supporting the players who represent other states for financial reasons, Khade questioned,"What is wrong in representing a state or a club, which pays you more money?"
"I am from Maharashtra but I am playing for my state only because they have promised a good deal for me," he added.
Asked as to what is the monetary benefit he would get for winning a gold at the National Games, he said that the Maharashtra government has promised a job and Rs 5 lakh for the gold medallists, Rs 3 lakh for a silver and Rs 2 lakh for winning a bronze.
The only son of Vikram Khade, who was a former basketball player and now a jaggery businessman, Khade has won three gold and two bronze medals till now at the 34th national games and he is expecting atleast six more gold medals in different individual events.
Talking about the scope of swimming in the country, the BCom part-I student of Kolhapur said that in the last few years there has been a drastic change in the swimming arena of the country.
Citing his own example, he said that at the age of about 15 years in 2007 when he qualified for the Bijing Olympics others were inspired and the very next year just before the start of the Olympics three more boys qualified for it.
Khade says that his main aim is to atleast reach the semifinals in the 50m and 100m freestyle events at the London Olympics.