14 August 1984 (aged 58) Karad, Maharashtra, India
Pocket Dynamo, KD
British Indian (1926-1947), Indian (1947-1984)
1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
54 kg (119 lb)
Shohachi Ishii, Rashid Mammadbeyov, Maruti Mane
India’s first individual Olympic medalist Khashaba Jadhav
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav (Marathi: श्री. खाशाबा दादासाहेब जाधव, January 15, 1926 – August 14, 1984) 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 athletes from India to win a medal in the Olympics
- Indias first individual Olympic medalist Khashaba Jadhav
- SNI Archives Khashaba Jadhav
- Wrestling career
- 1948 Summer Olympics
- Return from the 1948 Summer Olympics
- 1952 Summer Olympics
- Return from the 1952 Summer Olympics
- Later Life and Death
- Awards and Honours
- Related pages
After Norman Pritchard who won two silver medals in athletics in 1900, Khashaba was the first individual athlete from India to win a medal at the Olympics. In the years before Khashaba, India would only win gold medals in field hockey, a team sport. He is the only Indian Olympic medalist who never received a Padma Award. Khashaba was extremely nimble on his feet, which made him different from other wrestlers of his time. English coach Rees Gardner saw this trait in him and trained him prior to the 1948 Olympic games.
SNI Archives - Khashaba Jadhav
Born in a village called Goleshwar TalKarad District Satara in Maharashtra State, KD Jadhav was the youngest of five sons of a renowned wrestler Dadasaheb Jadhav. He did his schooling in Tilak High School in Karad district between 1940–1947. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed wrestling.He participated in the Quit India Movement providing shelter and a hiding place to the revolutionaries, circulating letters against the British were some of his contributions to the movement. He resolved to unfurl the tri-color flag in Olympics on Independence Day August 15, 1947.
His father Dadasaheb was a wrestling coach and he initiated Khashaba into wrestling at the age of five. His wrestling mentors in college were Baburao Balawde and Belapuri Guruji. His success in wrestling did not avoid him from getting good grades.
1948 Summer Olympics
Jadhav’s first feel of the big stage was at the 1948 London Olympics, his journey to the 1948 London Olympics was funded by the Maharaja of Kohlapur. During his stay in London, he was trained by Rees Gardner, a former lightweight World champion from the United States. It was Gardner’s guidance that saw Jadhav finish sixth in the flyweight section, despite being unfamiliar with wrestling on the mat. He stunned the audience in the 1948 Olympics in London by defeating the Australian wrestler Bert Harris in the first few minutes of the bout. He went on to defeat Billy Jernigan of USA, but lost to Mansour Raisi of Iran, to be eliminated from the tournament.
Return from the 1948 Summer Olympics
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 increased the tempo of his preparation for the next Olympics in Helsinki.
1952 Summer Olympics
After the marathon bout, he was asked to fight Soviet Union’s Rashid Mammadbeyov. As per the rules a rest of at least 30 minutes were required between bouts, but no Indian official was available to press his case, a tired Jadhav, failed to inspire and Mammadbeyov cashed in on the chance to reach the final. Defeating the wrestlers from Canada, Mexico and Germany, he won bronze medal on 23rd July 1952 thereby creating history by becoming Independent India's first individual medal winner. Khashaba’s colleague, Krishnarao Mangave a wrestler, also participated in the same Olympics in another category but missed the bronze medal by just one point.
Return from the 1952 Summer Olympics
Although India’s hockey team bagged a gold at the Helsinki games, Jadhav was the primary attraction of India’s contingent that returned home after the Olympics. Crowd gathered at the Karad Railway Station to welcome their hero, a cavalcade of 151 bullock carts and dhols, carried their hero for about 40km and passed through the village of Goleshwar.
Later Life and Death
In 1955, he joined the police force as a sub-inspector where he won several competitions held within the Police department and also performed National duties as a sports instructor. Despite serving the police department for twenty-seven years and retiring as an Asst. Police Commissioner, Jadhav had to fight for pension later on in his life. For years, he was neglected by the sports federation and had to live the final stages of his life in poverty. He died tragically in a road accident in 1984, his wife struggled to get any assistance from any quarter.
Awards and Honours
Olympic veer K D Jadhav by Sanjay Dudhane, National Book Trust.
International Wrestler and now producer Sangram Singh is all set with his plans of producing a film on Jadhav ji after taking the rights from his son Ranjit Jadhav. The film will be based on the life of a wrestler Khashaba Jadhav, who won independent India’s first Olympic medal in 1952. Jadhav ji has been an idol of Sangram ji since his childhood and Sangram wants to give his Shradhanjali now to his idol by making a film on him. Confirming the news through an official statement about the sportsman, Sangram says, “He has quite a noteworthy journey and earned our country its first international medal but in time, his name and story was something that was lost. He is a hero who deserves to be remembered and honoured. We will work hard to do justice to the portrayal of his achievements.” The script for the film is currently being worked upon.