He Was The First Indian To Win An Individual Medal At The Olympic Games
It was in the year 1952, an Indian for the first time won the individual Olympic medal for the country. And such a feat was achieved at the Helsinki Olympics by Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, who wrestled his way to the bronze medal in freestyle 57 kg (bantamweight) category. Unfortunately, history does not remember him.
Known as the ‘Pocket Dynamo’, Jadhav had to struggle through a lot of impediments that came on his way along the road to Olympics.
Hailing from Goleshwar village in Maharashtra, financial woes never left him in peace. However, it was the Maharaja of Patiala and few of his friends, who came to the rescue of Jadhav. The Maharaja provided Jadhav with his big break at the Olympics.
Also, Jadhav’s principal at college, Mr. Khardekar, mortgaged his own house for Rs 7,000 and gave the money to Jadhav. With high hopes, a confident Jadhav went on to wrestle in Helsinki.
He went on winning his first five bouts within almost five minutes. But couldn’t make it against Japan’s Shohachi Ishii. Jadhav lost the fight by just a single point and Ishii went on to win the gold.
Just after the tiresome fight ended with Ishhii, in less than 30 minutes, Jadhav went on the mat against Soviet Union’s Rashid Mammadbeyov. A tired Jadhav couldn’t do anything against Mammadbeyov. He lost the match content with a bronze.
It was still a big achievement for India, as the country had to wait for a long 44 years to earn the next medal in 1996 by Leander Paes.