In a bid to honour the achievement of India’s first individual Olympic medallist, Sports Minister M. S. Gill on Tuesday re-christened the newly-built wrestling venue in the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here as K. D. Jadhav Stadium.
The newly-constructed wrestling stadium, one of the venues for this year’s Commonwealth Games, was inaugurated in April this year and has a capacity of 6,000. It has been built over an area of 22,350 square metre at a cost of Rs. 120 crore.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gill said naming the stadium on Mr. Jadhav was a small effort on the government’s side to honour the legendary wrestler’s achievement, which was long due.
“Everyone is aware about Mr. Jadhav’s achievement. Everyone knows that real India’s first individual medal at the Olympics was Mr. Jadhav’s. So, it was always in my mind to honour him,” the Sports Minister said in his address.
“I am really happy to rechristen the stadium in the name of K. D. Jadhav. He didn’t have any help, he didn’t have any support but he had the determination. He worked very hard and managed on his own and gave India its first individual Olympic medal,” he said.
Mr. Gill called on the present lot of Indian wrestlers to derive inspiration from Jadhav and excel at the sport.
“Mr. Jadhav should be an example to the present day wrestlers who have every support, including foreign coaches, exposure trips, from the government and their federation,” he said.
“It is also their responsibility to win medals for the country in international events and I have high expectations from them in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games,” the Sports Minister added.
Beijing Olympics gold medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar too echoed similar sentiments and said Mr. Jadhav’s achievement should come as a motivation for him and his colleagues ahead of the two major sporting events this year.
“We all wrestlers are very happy that the stadium has been named after great K. D. Jadhav. It is a great motivation for us. We are trying our best and working hard for the Commonwealth Games and we are confident of a good performance in the Games,” Mr. Sushil said.
Even though Mr. Jadhav, widely known as ‘Pocket Dynamo’, is regarded as independent India’s first individual Olympic medallist for his bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Games, his achievement went unnoticed till he was alive.
But Mr. Jadhav’s son Ranjit said the honour which was bestowed on his father today, has made up for the negligence.
“I will remember this day whole my life. It is unfortunate that when he was alive he didn’t get any honour but I feel sitting in the heaven he will be very happy today,” said an emotional Ranjit, who was honoured by Gill.