Forgotten Wrestling Champion Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav – The First Indian Wrestler to Win Olympic Medal

 

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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav

Quick Facts

  • Name: Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav
  • Also Known As: Pocket Dynamo
  • Famous As: Athlete (Wrestler)
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Date: 15 January 1926 (Goleshwar, Satara, Maharashtra)
  • Died On: 14 August 1984
  • Awards: Arjuna Award (2001)

 

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

I often wonder how much it hurts when a wrestler gets beaten by the opponent! It must be painful but so is life. For the wrestler, the beating is not pain. The bruises are something to cherish for the athletes.

Wrestling is a sport which may not seem pleasant to the eyes but for some people, it is a passion. Men and women get trained to be strong enough to be able to knock down the opponent. Don’t we do that in real too? We go to school, college and get our MBA and Master’s degrees. Our mind gets trained to compete with our competitors. Everyone is eyeing on that one position in the company and our battle is to get that last position! We are not doing a physical fight but we are fighting for a position!

Today, we are remembering the wrestler, who made our country proud. He is a forgotten hero and his name is Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav. Yes, his name is as strong as him!

Let us find out more about his journey as a wrestler and as a young boy from Satara, Maharashtra.

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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav during his young age

Early Years

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was born in Satara, Maharashtra on 15th January, 1926. Yes, the fierce wrestler was born before India’s independence. Wrestling was in his blood because he was the son of a wrestler, Dadasaheb Jadhav. KD Jadhav was one of the five sons. Born in a village, KD Jadhav’s household breathed wrestling.

Even though they lived in a small village but their hopes and dreams were as big as the mountain. Do you know that KD Jadhav took part in the Quit India Movement? He also gave shelter to the revolutionaries, who were hiding from the brutal people. Jadhav used to circulate letters against the brutal Britishers. The young boy did contribute in the movement where everyone was fighting for India’s independence.

It all started in the 1948 Olympics which were held in London. Maharaja of Kolhapur funded the journey from India to London. Rees Gardner from US trained Jadhav and he learnt many new techniques.

The young man from India defeated Bert Harris in just a few minutes. Everyone was stunned to see the Indian boy doing so well in the rink! However, he got eliminated from the tournament as he lost the game to the Iranian wrestler.

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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav at the 1952 Summer Olympics

Bronze Medal Winner at Helsinki Games

After returning from London, Jadhav realized that he had to up his game and train harder to win the 1952 Summer Olympics. Even though the Indian Hockey Team won a gold medal in the Helsinki Games, it did not cause hindrance in Khashaba’s performance. Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav won the Olympic Bronze Medal in the year 1952 in the Helsinki Games. His family had to pool in a lot of money for his tour to Helsinki! When he came back after winning the bronze medal, people gathered at the Karad Railway Station to welcome him! Jadhav wanted a gold medal but his people were extremely proud and happy.

The wrestler received the Arjuna Award in the year 2001. Sadly, he was not around to see the day because he died in the year 1984.

In the year 1955, he had joined the police force as Sub-Inspector. The man who won a bronze medal for the country had to live his final days in poverty because he did not get his pension.

In the year 1984, Jadhav died in a car accident. Even though he is a forgotten wrestler and hero but his story still moves us and makes us proud! He is one of the heroes that the country had but his story’s ending could be better. May his soul rest in peace!

 

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Written By: Anshu Choudhary

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