Birth Anniversary of Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav: On Sunday (January 15, 2023), Google created a special doodle on his 97th birthday to honor Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, India’s first individual athlete to win an Olympic medal. His Khashaba Dadasheb Jadhav, a wrestler, was born on this day in 1926 in his Goleshwar village in Maharashtra. He became the first independent Indian individual athlete to win an Olympic medal at his 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. His father is also one of the best wrestlers in the village and his Jadhav, also known as “Pocket Dynamo”, inherits his athleticism.
After excelling as a swimmer and runner, 10-year-old Jadhav began training as a wrestler with his father.
Jadhav was just 5 feet 5 inches tall, but was one of the best wrestlers in high school thanks to his deft approach and light feet. He was good at duck. This is a wrestling move that holds the opponent in a headlock before throwing them to the ground.
With guidance from his father and professional wrestlers, Jadhav won multiple state and national titles.
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav’s first Olympic participation was in 1948
Jadhav’s success also caught the attention of Maharajji of Kolhapur in the 1940s. After Rajaram dominated events at his college, Maharaj of Kolhapur decided to finance his participation in the 1948 London Olympics.
The Olympics pitted Jadhav, who was unfamiliar with the rules of international wrestling and rarely wrestled on regulation mats, against the best and most experienced flyweight wrestlers in the world. However, he still managed to finish 6th, the best ever finish for an Indian wrestler at the time.
KD Jadhav spent the next four years training harder
Unsatisfied with his performance, KD Jadhav spent the next four years training harder than ever.
He moved up to bantamweight which featured more international wrestlers.
At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, he defeated wrestlers from Germany, Mexico and Canada before losing to the eventual champion.
Jadhav won the bronze medal, becoming the first medal winner from independent India.
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav’s wrestling career ended due to knee injury
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav injured his knee before the next Olympics, ending his wrestling career. He later joined the National Police Agency.
The Maharashtra government posthumously awarded him the Chhatrapati Puraskar Medal from 1992 to 1993.
A wrestling venue built for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi was named after him.