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Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav

Introduction

1. 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.

2. Since 1900 when Norman Pritchard won two silver medals in athletics, India had won gold medals only in field hockey, a team sport.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. In the 1948 London Olympics, he participated in the flyweight category finishing sixth.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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