Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav

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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav
खाशाबा दादासाहेब जाधव
Personal information
Full nameKhashaba Digvijai Jadhav[1]
Nickname(s)Pocket Dynamo[2]
Born(1926-01-15)15 January 1926[3]
Goleshwar, Karad, Satara, Maharashtra, India
Died14 August 1984(1984-08-14) (aged 58)[4]
Karad, Maharashtra, India
Height1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight54 kg (119 lb)
Coached byRees Gardner

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav January 15, 1926 – August 14, 1984) was an Indian athlete. He is best known as a wrestler who won a bronze medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He was one of the first athletes from India to win a medal in the Olympics[5]

After Norman Pritchard who won two silver medals in athletics in 1900, Khashaba was the first individual athlete from India to win a medal at the Olympics.[6] In the years before Khashaba, India would only win gold medals in field hockey, a team sport. He is the only Indian Olympic medalist who never received a Padma Award. Khashaba was extremely nimble on his feet, which made him different from other wrestlers of his time. English coach Rees Gardner saw this trait in him and trained him prior to the 1948 Olympic games.


Born in a village called Goleshwar in Karad taluka of District Satara in Maharashtra State, KD Jadhav was the youngest of five sons of a renowned wrestler Dadasaheb Jadhav. He did his schooling in Tilak High School in Karad district between 1940–1947. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed wrestling.[7]He participated in the Quit India Movement providing shelter and a hiding place to the revolutionaries, circulating letters against the British were some of his contributions to the movement.[8] He resolved to unfurl the tri-color flag in Olympics on Independence Day August 15, 1947.

Wrestling career[edit]

His father Dadasaheb was a wrestling coach and he initiated Khashaba into wrestling at the age of five. His wrestling mentors in college were Baburao Balawde and Belapuri Guruji. His success in wrestling did not avoid him from getting good grades.

1948 Summer Olympics[edit]

Jadhav’s first feel of the big stage was at the 1948 London Olympics, his journey to the 1948 London Olympics was funded by the Maharaja of Kolhapur.[9] During his stay in London, he was trained by Rees Gardner, a former lightweight World champion from the United States. It was Gardner’s guidance that saw Jadhav finish sixth in the flyweight section, despite being unfamiliar with wrestling on the mat.[10] He stunned the audience in the 1948 Olympics in London by defeating the Australian wrestler Bert Harris in the first few minutes of the bout.[11] He went on to defeat Billy Jernigan of USA, but lost to Mansour Raisi of Iran, to be eliminated from the tournament.

Res. Opponent Score Date Event Location Notes
Win Australia Bert Harris 3-0 1948-07-29 1948 Summer Olympics Men's Flyweight, Freestyle United Kingdom London Rank 2T
Win United States Billy Jernigan 3-0 1948-07-30 1948 Summer Olympics Men's Flyweight, Freestyle United Kingdom London Rank 3
Loss Iran Mansour Raisi Tech. Fall; 5:31 1948-07-30 1948 Summer Olympics Men's Flyweight, Freestyle United Kingdom London Rank 6 (Eliminated)

Return from the 1948 Summer Olympics[edit]

For the next four years, Jadhav trained even harder for the Helsinki Olympics where he moved up in weight and participated in the 125 lb bantamweight category which saw wrestlers from twenty-four different countries, he increased the tempo of his preparation for the next Olympics in Helsinki.[12]

1952 Summer Olympics[edit]

After the marathon bout, he was asked to fight Soviet Union’s Rashid Mammadbeyov. As per the rules a rest of at least 30 minutes were required between bouts, but no Indian official was available to press his case, a tired Jadhav, failed to inspire and Mammadbeyov cashed in on the chance to reach the final. Defeating the wrestlers from Canada, Mexico and Germany, he won bronze medal on 23rd July 1952 thereby creating history by becoming Independent India's first individual medal winner.[13] Khashaba’s colleague, Krishnarao Mangave a wrestler, also participated in the same Olympics in another category but missed the bronze medal by just one point.

Res. Opponent Score Date Event Location Notes
Win Canada Adrien Poliquin Tech. Fall; 14:25 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Finland Helsinki Rank 1T
Win Mexico Leonardo Basurto Tech. Fall; 5:20 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Finland Helsinki Rank 1T
Win Germany Ferdinand Schmitz 2-1 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Finland Helsinki Rank 2T
Loss Soviet Union Rashid Mammadbeyov 3-0 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Finland Helsinki Rank 1T
Loss Japan Shohachi Ishii 3-0 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Finland Helsinki Rank 3 Bronze Medal

Return from the 1952 Summer Olympics[edit]

Although India’s hockey team bagged a gold at the Helsinki games, Jadhav was the primary attraction of India’s contingent that returned home after the Olympics. Crowd gathered at the Karad Railway Station to welcome their hero[14], a cavalcade of 151 bullock carts and dhols, carried their hero for about 10km and passed through the village of Goleshwar.

Later life and death[edit]

In 1955, he joined the police force as a sub-inspector where he won several competitions held within the Police department and also performed National duties as a sports instructor. Despite serving the police department for twenty-seven years and retiring as an Asst. Police Commissioner, Jadhav had to fight for pension later on in his life. For years, he was neglected by the sports federation and had to live the final stages of his life in poverty. He died in a road accident in 1984, his wife struggled to get any assistance from any quarter.[15]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • He 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.[16]
  • He was posthumously honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2001.[17]



Olympic veer K D Jadhav by Sanjay Dudhane, National Book Trust.[19]


International Wrestler and now producer Sangram Singh is all set with his plans of producing a film on Jadhav after taking the rights from his son Ranjit Jadhav. The film will be based on the life of a wrestler Khashaba Jadhav, who won independent India’s first Olympic medal in 1952. Jadhav has been an idol of Sangram 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 about 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 something that was 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.” [20] The script for the film is currently being worked upon.

Related pages[edit]


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  5. ^ India Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS), "Proud Moments of Indian Sports," "Olympics Bronze Medal, Helsinki 1952"[permanent dead link]; excerpt, "The victory procession at the Karad railway station was a see-it-to-believe scene. "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 ..."; retrieved 2012-7-20.
  6. ^ Shariff, Faisal."Khashba Jhadhav, the hero we owe an apology to ...,"; retrieved 2012-7-20.
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  18. ^ "CWG wrestling venue re-christened as K. D. Jhadav Stadium," The Hindu (India). July 6, 2010; retrieved 2012-7-20.
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  20. ^ "Sangram Singh all set to make a biopic on legendary KD Jadhav".