New Delhi, July 22 (PTI) KD Jadhav, India's first individual Olympic medallist, should have got the 'Padma' honour when he was alive considering the magnitude of his achievement, his family said on Thursday, ruing that even after 37 years of his death, the wrestler has not received the recognition he deserved.
On Friday, when the athletes of participating nations will march during the opening ceremony of the delayed Tokyo Games, the day will also mark the 69th anniversary of Jadhav's medal. On 23rd July 1952, Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav had bagged a bronze medal in 52kg to become the first Indian athlete to win a medal in an individual sport at the Olympic Games.
'We are waiting for that day when he will get his due. We have been trying hard for the last couple of years but could not succeed,' Jadhav's son Ranjit told PTI Bhasha from his village Goleshwar in Satara district in Maharashtra.
Jadhav died in an accident in 1984 and he was awarded the Arjuna Award posthumously in 2001.
In 2010, the wrestling stadium at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in the national capital was rechristened as KD Jadhav stadium.
Ranjit said not just that he has been denied the civilian honour, his father endured financial hardships and 'injustice' in his lifetime.
'I remember when 1982 Asian Games were to begin in Delhi, he was invited at the last moment. He could not light the main torch despite being the only individual Olympic medalist in India at that time. Arjuna award was started in 1964 and he got it in 2001,' he added .
Ranjit acknowledged the great support the government is now extended to his athletes but urged to remember the real old heroes.
'The government is giving all possible support to upcoming players which is a good sign. If you want to be a superpower in sports, it is necessary to recognise your shortcomings and give all possible support to players.
'From the Prime Minister to the Sports minister and the public, everyone is cheering for India. There is an encouraging atmosphere for athletes who are representing India in the Tokyo Olympics.
'I also appeal to them that the pioneers who have laid down the foundation of this sporting scenario, they should not be forgotten,' he said.
'They are the real heroes who bought laurels at that time when India did not have any facilities. In those hardships they bought recognition for India in the sporting arena.' 'I have met former sports minister Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and NCP chief Sharad Pawar too but so far nothing has been done in this regard,' said Ranjit .
'This time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited nominations for the 'People's Padma Awards. So we hope that something good comes out,' he said. PTI MJ AT AT