India's Olympic moments: KD Jadhav makes history
In the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics, we retrace some memorable Indian moments at the quadrennial games. Today, a look at wrestler KD Jadhav's bronze medal in 1952.
For nearly half a century he was India's forgotten hero, but in 1952 Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was a national icon. At the Helsinki Games, the 'Pocket Dynamo' became independent India's first individual Olympic medallist when he won the freestyle wrestling bronze medal (bantamweight category). It was an achievement that would remain India's only individual medal for nearly 50 years, until Leander Paes won bronze in 1996.
In the 1948 London Olympics, Jadhav had finished sixth in the flyweight category. Four years later, Jadhav - introduced to wrestling by his father and four elder brothers - overcame official indifference and financial limitations to reach Helsinki. His travel had been sponsored by close friends and well-wishers, and by defeating wrestlers from Mexico, Canada and Germany to clinch bronze on July 23, Jadhav repaid the support.
Though the men's hockey team also returned with a gold medal, the star of the Indian contingent was Jadhav.
Forgotten for years, in 2000 the Indian sports administration finally remembered him when he was awarded the Arjuna Award. In 2011, the government re-christened the wrestling venue in the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi as the KD Jadhav Stadium.