Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav
Award Name : Arjuna Award
Year of Award : 2000
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Sātāra, Maharashtra, India
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav 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 athlete from India who has won medal in Olympics. The medal which was given to Jadhav was the first to be won by any Indian. 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.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. He was born on January 15, 1926 in Satara, Maharashtra, India. Starting his wrestling career in 1948, he first broke into lime-light at the 1948 London Olympics when he finished 6th in the flyweight category. He was the first Indian to achieve such a high a position in the individual category until 1948. Despite being alien to wrestling on a mat as well as under international rules of wrestling, Jadhav’s 6th-place finish was no mean feat at that time.
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 went on to defeat wrestlers from countries like Mexico, Germany and Canada, before losing his semi-final bout, but he came back stronger to win the bronze medal which made him the first ever individual Olympic medalist of independent India. In 1953 Japan wrestlers toured India and he defeated the world champion Unemori and continued his winning streak. In 2010, a wrestling venue at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi was named in Jadhav's honor. He did receive recognition in the form of awards, with Arjuna Award in 2001 being the most prominent.