Son of India’s first ever individual Olympic medallist and wrestling legend Khashaba Jadhav, has expressed his disappointment at repeated snubs by the government for not honouring him with Padma awards.
Khashaba, a wrestler, won the bronze medal at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and thus creating history to become the country’s first individual medallist at the quadrennial event.
While he was posthumously honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2001, his son Ranjit Jadhav has been demanding Bharat Ratna.
“For the past 19 years, I have been trying my best to ensure that my father gets Bharat Ratna, or at least a Padma award, posthumously. My father died in 1984 and after 17 years was awarded with the Arjuna award,” he told PTI.
He added, “My father won an Olympics medal in 1952. If your look at the list of award winners from 1954 to 1984, several sports persons got Padma Shri, some got even Padma Bhushan, while few got all three (including Padma Vibhushan). However, there was no Olympian among them barring hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand and few other hockey players.”
Khashaba died in 1984 and it was not before 1996 Atlanta Games that an India won its second individual medal at Olympics. “After the 1952 Olympics, India had to wait for 44 years to get an individual medal in Olympics. This underlines the greatness of my father,” Ranjit said.
He lamented that the likes of TV producer Ekta Kapoor has been given Padma Shri this year but his father has been denied. “Ekta Kapoor was given Padma Shri this year. What was the social significance of giving the award to her?” he questioned.