Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav

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Khashaba Jadhav
Born (1926-01-15)January 15, 1926
Goleshwar, Karad Taluka, Satara District, Maharashtra, India
Died August 14, 1984(1984-08-14) (aged 58)
Nationality India India
Occupation Wrestler
Religion Hinduism
Olympic medal record
Men's wrestling
Competitor for  India
Bronze 1952 Helsinki Bantamweight

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav or KD Jadhav (15 January 1926 – 14 August 1984), widely known as 'Pocket Dynamo', was independent India's first individual Olympic medalist when he won the freestyle wrestling bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Games. Since 1900 when Norman Pritchard won two silver medals in athletics, India had won gold medals only in field hockey, a team sport. He is the only Indian Olympic medalist to have never received a Padma Award.[1]

For nearly half a century, his would remain the only individual medal for India at the Olympics until Leander Paes won a bronze in 1996. Hailing from a wrestling background, Jadhav was an ardent fan of sports, mainly wrestling, kabaddi, running, swimming and others. His father, a wrestler himself taught Jadhav about the sport and despite being the youngest in the family managed to grasp the game and outclassed everyone. Gradually he began emerging as undisputed wrestler in the area and soon was competing in national events.

Jadhav was fleet footed, which made him different from other wrestlers of his time. English coach Rees Gardner saw this trait in him and trained him prior to 1948 Olympic games.

In the 1948 London Olympics, he participated in the flyweight category finishing sixth. Four years later, before the selection for Helsinki Olympics, Jadhav alleged that nepotism among officials prevented him from getting selected for the Olympics. According to him, they intentionally gave him one point less than the eventual winner at the Madras Nationals, and this ruled him out of the Olympics. He did not bow down to corrupt officialdom and appealed to Maharaja of Patiala seeking justice. Fortunately the Maharaja of Patiala loved sports, saw his point, and arranged his entry in Olympic trials where he floored his opponent and won an entry in the Olympics. For the 1952 Games he and his family went around the village begging for contributions to enable him to flirt with destiny.Khardikar, principal of the Rajaram College, where Jhadhav studied, mortgaged his home for Rs 7,000 to send his former student to the Olympics. Despite repeated requests to Morarji for only Rs 4000, there was no help forthcoming from any quarter."He would have easily won the gold at Helsinki," said Sampat Rao Jhadhav, his cousin who was with Khashababhau when he left for Helsinki to compete in the bantamweight category."It was difficult for him to adjust to the mat surface. After two rolling fouls he missed out on the gold medal which was his for the taking. (The gold was won by Japan's Ishii Shobachi while Russia's Rashid Mamedekov clinched the silver.) Moreover, there was no interval between the two bouts and to fight with two world class wrestlers without appropriate rest was more than a Herculean effort," added Rao.But an Olympic medal is an Olympic medal. And a first is always special. The victory procession at the Karad railway station was a see-it-to-believe scene recalls Rao."There were dhols along with a 151 bullock cart procession right from the outskirts of Goleshwar to the Mahadeva temple which is normally a 15 minute walk. It took seven long hours that day and no one was complaining. We have not seen joyous scenes like that either before or after that day. There was a feeling of pride and every villager was basking in that moment of glory. Khashababhau brought the small village of Goleshwar, earlier a dot on the map, to the fore. The whole world knew and recognised Goleshwar as the village which gave India its first-ever Olympic champion."

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