Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav
Personal information
Full nameKhashaba Jadhav[1]
Nickname(s)Pocket Dynamo[2]
Born(1926-01-15)15 January 1926[3]
Goleshwar (Satara district, Bombay Presidency, British India)
Died14 August 1984(1984-08-14) (aged 58)[4]
Karad, Maharashtra, India
Height1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight54 kg (119 lb)
Coached byRees Gardner

Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav (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 the first athlete from independent India to win an individual medal in the Olympics.[5][6]

After Norman Pritchard who won two silver medals in athletics in 1900 under colonial India, Khashaba was the first individual athlete from independent India to win a medal at the Olympics.[7] 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. He belonged to goleshwar village near Karad. He was posthumously awarded Arjuna Award in 2000 for his contribution to the wrestling.


Born in a village called Goleshwar in Karad taluka of 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 taluka of Satara district between 1940–1947. He grew up in a household that lived and breathed wrestling.[8] 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.[8] He resolved to unfurl the tricolor flag in Olympics on Independence Day August 15, 1947.

Wrestling career

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. He participated in quit India movement.He resolved to unfurl the tri-color flag in Olympics on Independence Day August 15, 1947.

Starting his wrestling career in 1948, he first came 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 new to wrestling on a mat as well as the 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 one weight category and participated in the bantamweight category (57 kg) 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.

1948 Summer Olympics

Jadhav's first feel of the big stage was at the 1948 London Olympics; his journey was funded by the Maharaja of Kolhapur.[9] 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.[10] He stunned the audience by defeating the Australian wrestler Bert Harris in the first few minutes of the bout.[8] He went on to defeat Billy Jernigan of the US, but lost to Mansour Raeisi of Iran, to be eliminated from the Games.

Res. Opponent Score Date Event Location Notes Win Bert Harris 3–0 29 July 1948 Summer Olympics Men's Flyweight, Freestyle London Rank 2T Win Billy Jernigan 3–0 30 July 1948 Summer Olympics Men's Flyweight, Freestyle London Rank 3 Loss Mansour Raeisi Tech. Fall; 5:31 30 July 1948 Summer Olympics Men's Flyweight, Freestyle London Rank 6 (Eliminated)


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 countries, he increased the tempo of his preparation for the next Olympics in Helsinki.[11]

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 23 July 1952 thereby creating history by becoming Independent India's first individual medal winner.[4] 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.

Res. Opponent Score Date Event Location Notes Win Adrien Poliquin Tech. Fall; 14:25 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Helsinki Rank 1T Win Leonardo Basurto Tech. Fall; 5:20 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Helsinki Rank 1T Win Ferdinand Schmitz 2-1 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Helsinki Rank 2T Loss Rashid Mammadbeyov 3-0 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Helsinki Rank 1T Loss Shohachi Ishii 3-0 1952-07-20 1952 Summer Olympics Men's Bantamweight, Freestyle Helsinki Rank 3 Bronze Medal

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,[3] a cavalcade of 151 bullock carts and dhols, carried their hero for about 10 km 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 in a road accident in 1984, his wife struggled to get any assistance from any quarter.[12]

Awards and honours



Olympic veer K D Jadhav by Sanjay Dudhane, National Book Trust.[14]


International Wrestler and now producer Sangram Singh is all set with his plans of producing a film on Jadhav 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 has been an idol of Sangram 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.”[15] The script for the film is currently being worked upon.

Related pages


  1. ^ "Khashaba Jhadav Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics at Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  2. ^ Rozario, Rayan (23 July 2016). "Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav: A forgotten hero". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 March 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b "Google Translate". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Khashaba Jadhav: Forgotten story of India's first individual Olympic medallist". 31 July 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ India Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS), "Proud Moments of Indian Sports," "Olympics Bronze Medal, Helsinki 1952"[permanent dead link]; excerpt, "The victory procession at the Karad railway station was a see-it-to-believe scene. "There were dhols along with a 151 bullock cart procession right from the outskirts of Goleshwar to the Mahadeva temple which is normally a 15 minute walk. It took seven long hours that day ..."; retrieved 2012-7-20.
  6. ^ wrestling medals at the Olympics - From KD Jadhav to Sakshi Malik Retrieved 6 August 2021
  7. ^ Shariff, Faisal."Khashba Jhadhav, the hero we owe an apology to ...,"; retrieved 2012-7-20.
  8. ^ a b c d Padmabandaru (2 July 2015). "Who is the first olympic medalist in India ?? He is unknown to many……". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Olympic Day 2017: KD Jadhav, a forgotten Indian hero - Times of India". The Times India. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  10. ^ "The Story Of KD Jadhav A.K.A 'Pocket Dynamo' Who Won India's First Individual Olympic Medal". 7 June 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  11. ^ "The forgotten hero of Indian sports - KD Jadhav and his triumph over adversities". 22 July 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  12. ^ "ओलंपिक में देश के लिए पहला मेडल लाने वाले पहलवान को घर गिरवी रखना पड़ा था". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  13. ^ "CWG wrestling venue re-christened as K. D. Jhadav Stadium," The Hindu (India). July 6, 2010; retrieved 2012-7-20.
  14. ^ Dudhāṇe, Sañjaya (2015). Olampika vīra Ke. Ḍī. Jādhava. ISBN 978-8123773377.
  15. ^ "Sangram Singh all set to make a biopic on legendary KD Jadhav". 6 August 2016. Retrieved 2019-09-03.