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Khashaba Jadhav: Untold Story of India's first Olympic medallist

Who Won First Olympic Medal For India? Is It Khashaba Jadhav

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was the first Indian athlete. He  was born on January 15, 1926. He was the first Indian athlete who won the Bronze Medal at the 1952 Summer Olympic in Helsinki. His performance could have been much better if the government would have provided superior facilities to him.
Jadhav made his first appearance in 1948 London Olympics. During his stay in London he was trained by Rees Gardner. Gardner was a former lightweight World Champion, belonging to the United States. Rees Gardner’s efforts to make him a Bronze Medalist, who belongs to a small village in Maharashtra was commendable.

After Norman, Khashaba Jadhav was the First Who Won Silver Medal

After Norman Pritchard, who won the silver Medal in athletic in 1900 from India, Khashaba Jadhav was the only person, who made us proud by winning a Bronze Medal for our country. Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was the youngest of five sons of his father, Dadhasaheb Jadhav, who was also a renowned wrestler.
Khashaba Jadhav did his schooling from Tilak high School in Karad district. Jadhav had also taken part in the Quit India Movement. To provide shelter, circulating messages against the British were some of his contributions to the movement.
When Khashaba Jadhav was merely five-year-old, his father started giving him wrestling training, he was also trained by Balawde and Belapuri Guru, who were his school wrestling masters.
Khashaba Jadhav: Untold Story of India's first Olympic medallist

Principle of College Mortgaged His House For Rs 7000

Khardekar, the Principal of his College (Raja Ram College) further mortgaged his house for Rs.7,000, while the shopkeepers of Karad and his friends arranged for his kit. This was playing in Jadhav’s mind. He did not want to disappoint those who stood by him.
In 1948, when Jadhav went to London to represent India in Olympic, his trip was funded by Maharaja of Kolhapur. The bantamweight section at Helsinki was loaded with world stars but Khashaba Jadhav was confident. He sailed through the first five rounds of the Olympics, won almost every other bout within earlier few minutes. Then came a strong test in the form of Japan’s Shohachi Ishii.
Despite knowing nothing about the wrestling on the mat, it was Gardner’s guidance. Khashaba stunned the audience by defeating his Australian rival Bert Harris in the first few minutes of the bout. Later, he went on to defeat Billy Jernigan of USA but lost to Mansour Raisi of Iran.  This led him to be eliminated from the tournament.

Khashaba Jadhav Joins Police Force

Khashaba Jadhav: Untold Story of India's first Olympic medallist

In 1955, Jadhav joined the police force as a sub-inspector. He did not leave any chance in the Police department, and won many competition which was held within the Police department. Jadhav also performed National duties as a sports instructor.

Kashabha Jadhav had to Fight for his pension

The Irony was, despite serving the police department for twenty-seven years and retiring as an Assistant Police Commissioner, and having a worldwide reputation as a wrestler, Khashaba Jadhav had to fight for his pension in his life. For years, he was neglected by the sports federation and had to live the final days of his life like a beggar. Even, Jadhav had to sell his wife’s gold ornaments to meet the expenses of his home’s construction.
Jadhav’s living room in his house was full of trophies, medals and mementos. The walls of the room are covered with photographs. The most imposing of them is a large photograph of Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, standing on the podium during the prize ceremony of the 1952 Olympics.

Khashaba Jadhav: Untold Story of India's first Olympic medallist

Khashaba Jadhav Had to Sell His wife’s Gold Ornament

In final days, sadness crept into his life when Jadhav’s final pay scale at the time of retirement had come down to around Rs 2,200. The lump sum amount he got on his retirement was Rs 75,000 the final stages of his life was in poverty.
Khashab Dadasaheb Jadhav has a son Ranjit K. D. Jadhav said, It’s been 65-year-old, when his father created history for Indian sports by bagging the first individual Olympic medal in bantamweight freestyle wrestling at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.
“Since then, it was my father’s dream to set up a full-fledged world-class wrestling academy in our village, Goleshwar (Karad sub-district) in Satara. Despite repeated attempts we have failed,” Ranjit Jadhav told IANS.

What Khashaba Jadha’s son Has to say?

Khashaba Jadhav: Untold Story of India's first Olympic medallist

According to the report, In 2009, the then Maharashtra sports minister announced the government’s plans to set up an academy, but nothing happened till December 2013 when an amount of Rs 1.58 crore was earmarked for the academy.
“The matter languishes in cold storage even after sanctioning the amount and now the cost of setting up the academy would be nearly double,” Jadhav said.
When Ranjit was asked about his father he said, “He was a soft-spoken man, who never lost his cool, even when provoked. In 1948, during a state-level wrestling championship where Jadhav was the challenger, the organisers declared one rupee as the prize, so dismissive were they of the challenge. “Other players would have felt offended and walked out but he stayed on. He was pitted against Rakshe, a bulky wrestler from Mumbai. My father defeated him within seconds.”

What Awards Khashaba Jadhav Won:

* Jadhav was honoured by making him a part of the torch run at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi
* The Maharashtra Government awarded the Chhatrapati Puraskar posthumously in 1992-1993.
* He was posthumously honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2001.
* The newly-built wrestling venue for the 2010 Delhi Common Wealth Games was named after him to honour his achievement.

Khashaba Jadhav: Untold Story of India's first Olympic medallist

Movie on Khashaba Jadhav :

An International Wrestler and producer Sangram Singh is likely to produce a movie on Jadhav, after talking to his son Ranjit. The film will cover the entire journey of a wrestler Khashaba Jadhav, who won first Olympic Medal after independence in 1952.
Jadhavji has been an idol of Sangramji since his childhood and Sangram wants to give his Shradhanjali now to his idol by making a film on him. Confirming the news through an official statement of the sportsman, Sangram says, “He has quite a noteworthy journey and earned our country its first international medal but in time, his name and story was somewhere lost. He is a hero who deserves to be remembered and honoured. We will work hard to do justice to the portrayal of his achievements.” The script for the film is currently being worked upon.
Jadhav was not happy when he was returning from the Olympics, but his well-wishers were. They gave him a warm welcome on his return. A procession carried their hero for about 40km and passed through the village of Goleshwar. And that remained etched in his memory till he passed away in a tragic accident in 1984.
He was the first Indian Athlete winner, but he is still yet to get any Padma awards. This was the story of First Indian Athlete, Khashaba Jadhav who won first Olympic Medal for India.

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